The second-generation Tesla Roadster — the all-electric sports car that made a splashy and surprising debut in November 2017 — will “hopefully” go into production next year, CEO Elon Musk said Tuesday at the company’s annual shareholder meeting in Austin, Texas.
With an emphasis on hopefully.
The Roadster, originally set to launch in 2020, has been repeatedly delayed over the years as the expensive sports car took the backseat of other Tesla products, including the Model 3 and Model Y vehicles. .
Musk said in response to a shareholder question that the company expects to complete engineering and design of the Roadster by 2023.
“This is not a commitment, but hopefully we’ll start production next year,” Musk said, calling the Roadster the “icing on the cake.”
“It certainly won’t be a big contributor to revenue,” he added. “It will make a modest contribution to profitability, but it will be sick.”
The original Tesla Roadster, the company’s first EV, debuted in 2006 and went into production in 2008. About 2,400 of the low-priced, expensive EVs were sold. While the Roadster put Tesla on the map, it would be the Tesla Model S, a higher-volume luxury vehicle that entered production in 2012, that would become a bestseller.
The second-generation Tesla Roadster made a surprise debut at the company’s Tesla Semi event in November 2017. At the time, the company said the Roadster could go from 0 to 60 mph in 1.9 seconds and would have a starting price of $200,000. The first 1,000 Founder’s Series models were expected to start at $250,000.
Tesla offered participants in the 2017 event a ride in the Roadster if they dropped $50,000, money to be used as a down payment. More than a few took up the offer.
Since then, Musk has been raising the bar – or the specs – of the yet-to-be-produced Roadster. In 2018, he tweeted that the Roadster would be offered with a SpaceX option pack of 10 small rocket engines.
Two years later, he mentioned the SpaceX option again after someone visiting the Peterson Museum in Los Angeles saw a plaque under the next-gen Roadster that read, “0-60 mph in 1.1 seconds.” Musk tweeted at the time that “it will be safe, but very intense. Probably not wise for people with a medical condition – same as a hardcore rollercoaster.”
The SpaceX option came up again at the 2023 shareholder meeting.
“You know, there’s some value to me in running two companies because the next generation Roadster will have the SpaceX option package that will really make it next level,” he said.