How much is a prototype Tesla Roadster really worth?


How much would you pay to own one of the earliest Tesla Roadster electric sports cars?

Early production models and prototypes of notable cars can often become valuable collectors' items.

That's something the seller of this prototype Tesla Roadster seems to be counting on.

DON'T MISS: Tesla Roadster 3.0 340-mile battery upgrade now shipping

The private seller is asking a cool $1 million for the car on eBay, in an auction that ends at noon (Eastern time) on Monday.

The silver Roadster has a claimed 18,000 miles on its odometer, and the seller claims it is #32 in a series of prototypes built by Tesla for development purposes.

Many of these cars were likely destroyed in crash tests, or otherwise abused as Tesla worked to get its first production model ready for sale.

Tesla Roadster Prototype for sale on eBay

Tesla Roadster Prototype for sale on eBay

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That pedigree certainly sets this car apart from other Roadsters, but the price is still a bit hard to believe.

Other eBay listings generally show used Roadsters with estimated values between $40,000 and $80,000.

It's hard to say whether this car's prototype status makes it worth so much more than a run-of-the-mill production model.

ALSO SEE: 110-year-old electric cars sold at auction as collectors start to appreciate them

In any case, the prototype Roadster would probably be worth more to a potential buyer as a collectors' item than as a usable car to be driven often.

Tesla built the Roadster between 2008 and 2012.

Along the way, it introduced upgraded 2.0 and 2.5 models, which comprise about 2,000 of the 2,500 cars built.

Tesla Roadster Prototype for sale on eBay

Tesla Roadster Prototype for sale on eBay

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Now, the carmaker offers a Roadster 3.0 battery upgrade that can be fitted to Roadster 2.0 and 2.5 models.

The $29,000 package includes a new battery pack that boosts range to a claimed 340 miles, compared to a best of 245 miles for previous versions of the Roadster.

Retrofitting discontinued models with new powertrain components is fairly unusual, but somewhat less daunting with battery-electric cars than gasoline or diesel cars.

MORE: Tesla Roadster 3.0's $29,000 Battery Upgrade: 330 Miles Or More Of Range (Sep 2015)

The availability of the upgrade also makes the $1 million asking price of the prototype Roadster even more unrealistic.

Buyers looking for cars to drive often are much better off with later versions of the Roadster, even if they don't come with the prototype's history.

After all, even with the Roadster 3.0 upgrade, it's likely none of those cars will require buyers to fork over anywhere near $1 million.

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