At long last, Tesla’s next generation Roadster is going to become a reality—definitely. Maybe. There’s at least an offhand chance. 

The successor to the car that started it all has completed final engineering, and if you believe Elon Musk, its “least interesting” feature is a 0-60 time clocking in below a second

A street-legal two seater twice as slow would still rank among the fastest on the planet, and even Formula 1 race cars with professionally licensed drivers behind the wheel can’t hit that kind of acceleration. The aerodynamic downforce needed to firmly plant the Roadster’s wheels on the road and maintain grip at that pace would have to be truly staggering.

In short, it’s the kind of claim one might think is better reserved for April 1st, but Musk appeared to be dead serious when he announced it late on Tuesday.

“There will never be another car like this,” he told fans, “if you could even call it a car.”

The Tesla CEO said the production design has been signed off after performance targets were “radically” increased such that his engineers required help from their counterparts over at Musk’s SpaceX company. 

“Unveil end of year, aiming to ship next year,” he added. 

It was all the way back in November 2017 when Musk first revealed his stunning next-gen sports car, already then claiming it would be the first EV to ever drive 1,000 kilometers on one charge at highway speeds.

Market launch was initially slated for 2020, but—either conveniently or inconveniently—the pandemic hit, and then right after that was the semiconductor chips shortage, which delayed other projects like the Cybertruck that only launched at the end of last year. 

“Honestly, I’m trying not to get too excited, especially as someone who won two of them in the referral program,” wrote Fred Lambert, editor of the EV site Electrek. “Technically the only new thing that Elon said today is that it is again delayed.”

Priorities began to shift with the changing times—and the arrival of the Model S Plaid performance version meant it lacked a bit of its raison d’etre. Fans began to acknowledge it was not mission critical to spurring higher EV adoption rates, especially as the volumes for a two-seat convertible are minute. 

Like the Boring Company’s promise of a Hyperloop, the Tesla Roadster has for years had the distinction of being among the innovations Musk promised that never even remotely saw the light of day, despite the company accepting customer deposits of $50,000 and more per reservation.

‘Most mind-blowing product demo of all time’

Why announce now, then, when most have already forgotten the Roadster? Maybe it came as a result of all the trolling Musk received the other week for claiming Tesla would never make a concept car that would not go into production, when the Roadster was nowhere to be seen more than six years after its unveiling. 

Maybe it was China’s BYD debuting a Ferrari-priced super sports car called the Yangwang U9 that signalled other rivals are turning up the technological heat on the once undisputed EV leader.

Musk has, after all, tried to kneecap rivals by stealing their thunder, like a quad-motor Cybertruck capable of turning a full 360 degrees on its axis like a tank, or drive sideways like a crab. In the end, the promise was never fulfilled, because Rivian had already dropped the idea prior.

Whatever the motivation to go public with another milestone he will now need to meet, Musk had no intention of being faint of praise for what could be his next creation.

“I think it has a shot at being the most mind-blowing product demo of all time,” he wrote. 

Still not everyone was happy at the news. Some reactions from the Tesla fan community suggested Musk should instead focus first and foremost on bringing to fruition his $25,000 entry model that has yet to be seen, since the annual volumes expected are in the millions rather than the thousands. 

The to-do list is, in other words, long, and getting longer with each new promise. Shareholders will want tangible results before signing off on Musk’s next gonzo pay package

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