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Ferrari-fighting Tesla Model R reportedly in the works for 2017

Tesla Model S

A rumor coming out of jolly old England’s Auto Express suggests electric car manufacturer Tesla is looking to bring a new model to the market in 2017.

The new car would replace Tesla’s first car, the Roadster, and be built from the ground up as pure all-electric vehicle (EV). Whereas the current Roadster is underpinned by Lotus’ Elise platform, Auto Express claims the successor to the Roadster, thought to be named the Model R, will utilize the same platform currently underpinning the Model S and the upcoming Model X crossover.

In addition to adhering to the company’s current naming convention, the Model R will reportedly expand on the Roadsters lightning-quick acceleration, which is capable of rocketing from 0-60 miles per hour in 3.9 seconds and traveling 254-miles on a single charge of its 53 kWh lithium-ion battery.

If true, the Model R would undoubtedly benefit from a platform switch. The Lotus Elise weights about 1800 pounds, while the Roadster weighs in at 2,723 pounds. A new platform built from the ground up to accommodate an EV powertrain has the potential to reduce the weight of the car, while at the same time improving range and acceleration.

Tesla sold the Roadster between 2008 and 2011, with about 2,500 rolling off the line. Base price for the zippy EV started around $109,000. While no longer selling the Roadster, the California-based automaker started a buyback program last month that allows Roadster owners the option to trade theirs in for credit towards a Model S.

According to Auto Express, Tesla has its sights set on Ferrari with the Model R, but we remain skeptical. Still, if the Model R can indeed go toe-to-toe with the iconic Italian automaker we’ll be very impressed. Of course that leaves us with another question: How much will it cost?