Elon Musk is nothing if not media-savvy. At what was supposed to be the unveiling of the electric semi-truck of the future on Thursday, 16 November, he pulled another rabbit out of the hat – the second-generation Tesla Roadster.
As expected, the gathered media went into a tizzy, and the Tesla Roadster was the subject of an online tsunami of tweets, articles, pins and posts that told the tale.
It is not an overreaction - according to the specs Elon shared, the Tesla Roadster is the fastest-accelerating production vehicle the world has ever seen, and boasts a top speed to put most petrol hypercars to shame.
The Tesla Roadster 0-60 mph time is 1.9 seconds, faster than any other production car on earth. Tesla has said that the supercar will then go on to hit 100 mph in just 4.2 seconds, and cover a quarter-mile in just 8.9 seconds. No production car has ever cracked the 9-second quarter-mile barrier before.
The Tesla Roadster's top speed is 250 mph (402 kmph), which may not be the fastest in the world (that honour goes to the Koenigsegg Agera RS at 277.87 mph or 447 kmph) but there are few stretches of road the average driver will find to even come close to that limit.
The Tesla Roadster is an all-wheel drive vehicle with three electric motors - two powering the rear wheels and one driving the front. These motors will be fed by a 200 kWh battery, giving the vehicle a range of 620 miles (997 km) on a single charge.
That, of course, is the best case scenario with just the driver in the car. The Tesla Roadster can accommodate up to 4 people, albeit in the ‘2+2’ format of 2 adults and 2 ‘smaller people’.
The Tesla Roadster price is US$200,000 (£151,330). 1000 Tesla Roadster ‘Founders Series’ units will also be produced, costing $250,000 (£189,160) each.
The limited series model was available for booking immediately following the launch for a deposit of $5,000 with the proviso that the remaining amount be paid within 10 days. You can book a regular Tesla Roadster for a £50,000 deposit, with the balance to be paid before delivery.
The Tesla Roadster is expected to debut on the road in 2020, a year after the Tesla Semi.
The key word here is ‘expected’. The Tesla production line was supposed to be rolling out 1,600 units of the Tesla Model 3 by the end of September. The reality? Just 260 units.
Technical issues have plagued the model and the factory. Financial analysts are not particularly impressed by the latest unveiling. The general consensus from the world of finance is that this announcement was more about making a statement and building hype (and getting new investors) than it was about actual wheels on bitumen.
If that was Elon's logic, it certainly has worked - Tesla's shares jumped 1.5% on Friday.