The new Tesla Roadster, billed by the Californian car maker as “the quickest car in the world”, will not be launched until after the Cybertruck and the Semi electric truck, says Elon Musk.
In an interview with popular podcaster Joe Rogan on Thursday, Musk discussed a range of topics from how to pronounce the name of his new-born son to experimental musician Grimes (whose real name is Claire Elise Boucher), to neural nets and artificial intelligence and, of course, electric vehicles.
Talk of progress on the upcoming electric models, including the polarising and boundary-pushing Cybertruck, came towards the end of the two-hour-long discussion, but when it did come, the Tesla CEO and co-founder unearthed a few little gems.
Notably, Musk compared the long-awaited second-generation Roadster to dessert.
That is, production of the Roadster would come after the ramping-up of Model Y production, the building of the new Berlin Gigafactory, and the launch of the Cybertruck and the Semi electric truck – the main course, so to speak.
“Roadster is kind of like dessert. We gotta get the meat and potatoes and greens and stuff,” he said.
This means that the Roadster will likely not be ready to take to the road until 2022 now, two years after Musk had originally planned when he unveiled the Roadster in 2017.
Part of the reason for this delay can be put down to the Covid-19 pandemic, but in comments made by Musk to Rogan the main reason is simply that other projects are taking priority.
“So, not to blame everything on Covid, but it’s certainly set us back on progress for some number of months. But I mean things were going to get done,” Musk told Rogan.
“Ahead of Roadster are, ramping up model Y production, that’ll be a great car, it is a great car; getting the Berlin Giga-factory built; and also building Y getting expanding the Shanghai factory, which is going great; and get this Cybertruck, Semi truck, Roadster.”
Rogan clarified with Musk: “But Roadster comes before Cybertruck?”
“I mean, I think we should do Cybertruck first, before Roadster,” said Musk.
But that doesn’t mean the Roadster is completely on hold. As Musk elaborated, work is currently underway on the Plaid tri-motor drivetrain which will power the Roadster.
We first learned about the Plaid drivetrain when Tesla took a Model S kitted out with the new tri-motor configuration to the infamous Nürburgring Nordschleife track. It will also feature in the top-of-the-range Cybertruck that is expected to go into production in late 2021.
“Some of the things for Roadster, the tri-motor, plaid powertrain, we’re going to have that in model S. So that’s like part one of the ingredients that’s needed for Roadster, is the plaid powertrain, the more advanced battery pack. That kind of thing,” said Musk.
And there will be some other surprises in the Roadster too, that Musk says will be “unfair” – although he’s not about to give too many details away.
“Well with a Roadster, we’re going to do some things that are kind of unfair. So we’re going to take some things from Cadillac rocket world and put them on a car, so….” said Musk.
“When we do the unveil of the Roadster, let me just say that anyone who’s been waiting, they won’t be sorry. ”
The Roadster, when it is finally released, will at $US200,000 ($A310,000 converted) appeal to a limited but well-heeled market.
The Cybertruck, on the other hand, which will start at a “budget” $US39,900 ($A61,906 converted), has reportedly already garnered some 500,000 $US100 ($A150 in Australia) pre-orders in February. And it will be popular in Australia, the largest potential market for the Cybertruck outside North America.
But it is the ramp-up of Model Y production that must come first, with Musk tipping it to be more popular than the Model 3, Model S and Model X combined.
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Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.