Announced via Twitter on Christmas by Elon Musk, with details to follow on the Tesla blog, Tesla Motors says they will be releasing some major updates for the Roadster, now Roadster 3.0. The Roadster was the electric-vehicle maker's very first model. It was also the world's very first vehicle in production to actually use a lithium ion battery. The hype about the fully electric vehicles back then was as justified as the hype about these updates are now.
Tesla's blog post about the updates states that they will be making improvements to the vehicle's battery, aerodynamics and rolling resistance.
"[The Roadster's battery] was state of the art in 2008, but cell technology has improved substantially since then" Tesla officials said in the press release issued last week. "We have identified a new cell that has 31 percent more energy than the original Roadster cell. Using this new cell we have created a battery pack that delivers roughly 70kWh in the same package as the original battery." For Roadster drivers this means being able to cruise nearly 400 miles on a single charge.
Also included in the update will be a kit, ready-made to fit the Roadster with better aerodynamics. This Aero Kit will make a 15% improvement on the original Roadsters drag coefficient. And finally, the last addition in the upgrade will be new tires with a better rolling resistance, due to improvements in wheel bearings and residual break drag.
The updates for the Roadster are largely necessary for a couple of reasons. Reason number one is that the original Tesla could go only about 245 miles on a charge. Reason number two, closely related to reason number one, is that the Roadster is not compatible with Tesla's network of high-speed chargers along major interstates. Tesla plans to show off the improvements with a non-stop test drive from San Francisco to L.A. early in 2015.
In 2012 Tesla announced that they would no longer be producing the Roadster model in order to focus on their succeeding vehicles, the Model S and Model X. However, officials have said that they are confident that this won't be the Roadsters last update.