2020 Tesla Roadster
At Tesla's self-driving event for investors on Monday afternoon, the company revealed another tidbit: a glimpse of its upcoming second-generation Roadster.
The company parked the new Roadster at the event, and for the first time let outsiders (at least those who have invested significant sums) open the doors and sit in it. The prototype was not available to drive.
Investor Hamid Shojaee took the opportunity to share a 39-second video clip on Twitter. In it, he tries out Tesla's latest approach to door handles, and looks to the squared-off Formula 1-style bat-wing steering wheel, its large center touch screen, as well as its vestigial rear seats.
Starting from the outside, the new door handles are entirely electronic. As he tries to open the door in the video, Shojaee has to try several times to open the door, first swiping up on the sensors, then when that doesn't work, swiping down—as if Tesla needed any more hassles with unusual door handles. Once he swipes down from the top, the door opens on the first try.
Inside, the car's steering wheel looks straight out of a Hollywood Batmobile mockup. Such a vestigial "wheel" only makes sense if the car is steered entirely by wire and has less than about a full-turn lock-to-lock. That's not impossible, and it wouldn't be the only car with a steer-by-wire system.
The Roadster's center screen returns to something like the Model S's original vertical orientation, but it's much bigger, and the car has no second instrument screen as the Model S and Model X do. It also reclines at a steep angle on the raked console, rather than perching atop the center dash as the Model 3's does.
In the rear, the new Roadster has a couple of tiny butt-baskets for seats, reminiscent of the original Porsche 911. That's not necessarily a criticism, but pretty typical for the genre.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said the company plans to sell the $250,000 sports car in 2020. It is expected to have up to 620 miles of range and hit 60 mph from a stop in 1.9 seconds.
What it does not have in terms of typical roadster features is a convertible top.