As Elon Musk announced in a tweet on December 26, the highlight of Tesla Roadster’s upgrade package is the significant increase in driving range compared to the original model.
Tesla says the Roadster 3.0 package applies what the company learned in Model S to Roadster. Improvements have been made in three major areas: batteries, aerodynamics and rolling resistance. “We have long been excited to apply our learning back to our first vehicle, and are thrilled to do just that with the prototype Roadster 3.0 package,” Tesla says in a release.
In terms of batteries, the Roadster 3.0 features a new cell that has 31 percent more energy than the original Roadster cell. The updated battery pack delivers roughly 70kWh in the same package as the original battery.
Improvements have been made in terms of aerodynamics as well, with the Roadster 3.0 expected to feature a 15 percent improvement in this area compared to the original Roadster. While the latter had a drag coefficient (Cd) of 0.36, the Roadster 3.0 is likely to further lower the figure to 0.31, “using modern computational methods with a retrofit aero kit,” according to Tesla.
The Roadster 3.0 also gets new tires with a rolling resistance coefficient (Crr) of roughly 8.9 kg/ton, which is an improvement of about 20 percent compared to the original model’s tires that had a Crr of 11.0 kg/ton. Tesla said it is also making improvements in the wheel bearings and residual brake drag that “further reduce overall rolling resistance of the car.”
To sum it up, Tesla says all of these improvements combined are expected to boost driving range by 40-50 percent compared to the original Roadster. The automaker is confident the Roadster 3.0 can cover over 400 miles (644 km) on a single charge and will demonstrate this in the real world during a non-stop drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles in early 2015.
Tesla will start taking appointments for upgrading Roadsters in spring 2015, after the new battery pack finishes safety validation. By the way, this will not be the last update the Roadster will get “in the many years to come,” according to Tesla.
Note: 2011 Tesla Roadster 2.5 pictured