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PHOTO CAPTION: Upgraded Tesla Roadster will have range up to 400 miles.

Tesla Roadster to Get 3.0 Upgrade of 400 Miles

The just-announced 3.0 upgrade will, under the right circumstances, give the Roadster a single-charge range up to 400 miles, enough drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles without stopping.

Published: 01-Jan-2015

When the original Tesla Roadster rolled out in 2008, it almost single-handedly kicked off the current electric car revolution. Boasting a range of up to 245 miles on a charge, it out-distanced and out-classed every other EV then in existence, of which, to be honest, there weren't all that many. The closest competitor at the time in terms of styling and performance was the $400,000 Venturi Fetish. It's advertised range was 340 km or 211 miles.

The company originally founded by Martin Eberhard and Mark Tappering in 2004, but subsequently taken over by its current CEO, Elon Musk, built some 2,400 Roadsters, a two-seat sports car based on the Lotus Elise plaform. It was neck-snappingly quick and exhilarating to drive; and its sales helped fund the development of the much-acclaimed Model S.

Now the company plans to upgrade those 2,400 cars in a move characteristically out-of-step with -- or years ahead of - the rest of the automotive industry. Taking what it learned from the development of the Model S, the company announced on December 27, 2014 that is will offer three key upgrades to the little electric sports car.

The first is a battery upgrade to the current 51kWh pack that now will squeeze 70 kWh into the same pack dimension: an estimated 31% improvement in energy density.

Next the company has developed a retrofit aero kit that reduces the cars drag coefficient from 0.36 to 0.31, another 15% improvement.

Third, the car - dubbed the Roadster 3.0 will get new, lower rolling resistance tired that provide a further 20% improvement.

Tesla announced on their website:

"There is a set of speeds and driving conditions where we can confidently drive the Roadster 3.0 over 400 miles. We will be demonstrating this in the real world during a non-stop drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles in the early weeks of 2015."

Pricing of the upgrades has not yet been announced (speculation put it at between $20-30K), but the company added that these would not be the last upgrades coming for the car. Presumably, one of them may include the ability to someday use Tesla's expanding supercharger network.

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