The new Tesla Roadster promises to give a ‘hardcore smackdown’ to gasoline cars

Tesla doesn’t have a long story, but it has a complicated one. The company got its start in 2003 with the mission to “accelerate the day of electric vehicles,” but 14 years later, the brand’s portfolio has grown far beyond that. Tesla now makes electric cars, home and commercial energy storage systems, solar panels, roof tiles, and yes, even semitrucks. It all started with the Roadster, though.

The original Roadster was born in 2005 when English carmaker Lotus agreed to sell Tesla bare Elise shells. Tesla then stuffed lithium-ion battery cells and electric motors into them, creating the first all-electric car to travel more than 200 miles on a single charge. It was also legitimately quick, with a 0 to 60 mph time of 3.9 seconds.

Much time has passed since then, and Tesla is now a bona fide powerhouse in the automotive industry with many more resources to play with. Thus, the new Roadster must push the boundaries even further, and boy, does it ever.

Unveiled as a surprise at the end of the Tesla Semi event, the all-wheel drive Roadster boasts a spec sheet that would make a superbike jealous — a 200kWh battery pack, 0 to 60 mph in 1.9 seconds, 0 to 100 mph in 4.2 seconds, and the quarter-mile dealt with in 8.9 seconds. These are record-shattering (albeit unconfirmed) performance numbers, but that’s not all; Musk mentioned the Roadster was capable of reaching 250 mph in testing. According to the CEO himself, “The point of all this is just to give a hardcore smackdown to gasoline cars.”

Outside of boasting incredible acceleration, the Roadster will technically seat four, and it will feature a removable glass roof that fits snugly in the trunk. There will be plenty of storage as we’ve come to expect from Teslas, too, as well as the latest and greatest in driver-assist systems.

Range is always a concern with electric cars, but with the second-generation Roadster, there’s almost no reason to stress. That’s because Tesla claims the vehicle will be able to travel a whopping 620 miles between charges, and that’s more than some diesel cars can do.

“These numbers sound nutty, but they’re real,” Musk said at the event.

Tesla Roadster

Of course, all these nutty figures come at a cost, which brings us to the Roadster’s price. The base model will start at $200,000 with a $50,000 deposit required upfront, however the first 1,000 examples will be dubbed the Founder’s Series and will require the full $250,000 up front. That may sound like a lot (and it is), but if you consider how much faster the Roadster is than, say, the $1.15 million McLaren P1, it’s actually quite the bargain.

The new Tesla Roadster is due in 2020.