After a handful of delays pushed back the release of the much-anticipated Tesla Roadster updates, the EV manufacturer has finally unveiled its Roadster 3.0 package. Sadly, this package does not include gracing the Model S with “the D” that made the model S the most feared electric sedan on the road, but it is an impressive upgrade nonetheless.
The Roadster 3.0 update improves upon three area s of the roadster to push its driving range to a new level. The first area is, of course, the batteries. Tesla has found a battery technology that can hold 31 percent more energy than the batteries that are currently in the Roadster. This allowed Tesla to develop a new battery that stores roughly 70 kWh of energy and will still fit on the tiny Roadster’s platform.
The second part of the upgrade is to retrofit an aerodynamic kit. While Tesla’s press release doesn’t reveal any details behind this kit, it does specify that it drops the Roadster’s drag coefficient from 0.36 to 0.31.
The final piece of the puzzle is reduced rolling resistance. The first step in reducing this range-draining resistance is to replace the tires with a 20 percent lower rolling-resistance coefficient. The second step in reducing this resistance is to replace the wheel bearings with improved units and lower residual brake drag. The bearing and brake updates are great, but the lower rolling-resistance tires are a tad scary, as typically lower rolling resistance means they are a less grippy, which could be counterproductive in a sports car.
While these changes, save for the battery, all seem like minor upgrades, they result in a 40- to 50-percent increase over the original 245-mile range of the Roadster. That amounts to a new range of about 343 to 367 miles, but Tesla said that in testing the Roadster3.0 upgrade has allowed the electric sports car to travel as far as 400 miles on a single charge.
Barring any setbacks, this upgrade will be ready for delivery in April 2015, but Tesla did not reveal any pricing details. My best guess would put this upgrade at anywhere between $5,000 and $10,000.