This Christmas, Elon Musk of Tesla had an interesting Christmas present to offer Roadster owners on Twitter — an increase to a range of 400 miles between charges.
Roadster upgrade will enable non-stop travel from LA to SF — almost 400 mile range. Details tmrw. Merry Christmas!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 25, 2014
The Roadster was Tesla’s iconic sports car, last manufactured in 2008. To achieve the 400 mile range, the company has refitted the vehicle in several ways, according to Techcrunch. First, it has redesigned the aero package, reducing drag on the car. It is updating the tires and wheel bearings to reduce the car’s rolling resistance. Finally, it has developed a lithium-ion battery with a new cell technology that increases energy output by as much as 30 percent. According to the company’s statement, they expect the range of the car to go from it’s original 250 miles to 400 miles, under the right driving conditions.
Musk stated that the company would demonstrate the new abilities of the Roadster in the early part of 2015 with a non-stop drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles.
So far, there’s no news on what it will cost to update an existing Roadster to the 400 mile range, or when owners might expect to be able to purchase an upgrade kit. In its official announcement, however, Tesla made it clear that Roadster owners should continue to see improvements to their vehicles. However, a spokesperson from Tesla told Mercury News that there were no plans to put the Roadster back into production.
Our production focus is on Model S, beginning production of Model X in 2015 and introducing Model 3 in a few years.
Responses to the company’s announcement have been largely positive.
— Thomas Laboulle (@thomaslaboulle) December 27, 2014
The length of time that an electric car can travel without a charge has often been considered the main limiting factor on their long-range feasibility. After all, on-the-road charging stations are still few and far between in the majority of the country. There is also some ongoing controversy between those who see electric cars as the solution to America’s reliance of foreign oil, and those who point out that many power stations in the U.S. still run on fossil fuels. It’s unlikely that this one update to a sporty electric car will settle any of those debates, but the announcement of the increase to a 400-mile range certainly may change the conversation in a fascinating way.