The original Tesla Roadster put the all-electric automaker on the map, even if most Model S and Model X buyers don’t remember it. Slated to make its return in 2021, the second-generation Roadster bests it, predecessor, by adding two small rear seats, significantly more driving range, and a much higher level of performance. Tesla CEO Elon Musk boasted about a 1.9-second 60-mph time and a 250-mph top speed when the Roadster concept was unveiled back in 2017—figures we very much hope will prove accurate when this sports car finally arrives.
What’s New for 2021?
The 2021 Roadster will be a new addition to the Tesla lineup when it enters production, resurrecting the nameplate worn by the company’s first model back in 2008.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
When the 2021 Tesla Roadster was unveiled as a concept in November 2017, Musk touted some pie-in-the-sky performance numbers for this car, including a 60-mph time of 1.9 seconds, a top speed of more than 250 mph, and a quarter-mile time of just 8.8 seconds. That’s outrageous. For reference, if that 60-mph time holds up, it will mean the Roadster is a full second quicker than its key rival, the gasoline-powered McLaren 570S. Also during this conference, Musk noted that the Roadster will come with standard all-wheel drive. This is less surprising. Tesla’s mainstream EV models utilize two electric motors—one at the front and one at the rear—to drive all four wheels, so it makes sense we’d see the same setup for the Roadster.
Range, Charging, and Battery Life
The 200-kWh battery is said to provide up to 620 miles of range, but certainly, that number will be achievable only under very light use; hitting the track for some flat-out hot laps will cut that estimate considerably.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The EPA hasn’t released its ratings for the Roadster’s fuel economy, but those details are sure to emerge closer to the car’s on-sale date. We hope to have a chance to test the new Roadster. If/when we do, we’ll put it through our 200-mile highway fuel-economy test and report its results here.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
For now, the 2021 Roadster is merely a concept, and in general, concepts change drastically during their development into production models. As shown, the Roadster concept features a removable glass-panel roof, which you can stow in the trunk. It has four seats, but the rear ones look as though they may not fit adults, given the Roadster’s dramatically angled roofline. Other than that, we expect to see Tesla’s signature minimalist interior design repeated here.