Tesla Model R to spectacularly succeed the Roadster sooner than expected?

Tesla Motors’ first car, the Lotus-based Roadster, ended production in 2012 so the company could focus on the higher-volume Models S and X. A new report suggests the Roadster will be revived in 2017, although we find that timetable unlikely.

The German automotive website Autobild is reporting that according to Tesla sources, a next-generation version of the Tesla Roadster could arrive in 2017. It will be known as Model R and be built on either the Model III platform or a new smaller platform.

It is widely expected that Tesla will come out with a new Roadster eventually, but this is the first time a date as early as 2017 has been suggested. We are highly skeptical that the reported timetable is accurate, however.

Model R is coming, but not before Model III

Autobild quoted several Tesla sources that allegedly revealed details about the company’s plans for Model R and an upcoming Model C city car. Given that Elon Musk recently hinted that Tesla is “not currently showing all our cards,” it is indeed possible that these two rumored vehicles are in the works.

However, we think a Model C is unlikely and a successor to the original Roadster is hardly a priority for Tesla at this point. With the launch of the Model X crossover next year, ongoing Supercharger network rollout, and the concurrent development of the Gigafactory and mass-market Model III targeted for 2017, Tesla has plenty on its plate without devoting much attention to an expensive and low-volume sports car.

If the German publication were referring to 2017 as simply the official introduction date for the Model R concept, we would consider that quite reasonable. We don’t speak German, and it’s hard to ascertain the article’s exact intent using Google translate.

The enticing prospect of a purpose-built Tesla sports car, with supercapacitors?

With that said, when Model R does arrive it will be an exciting revision of the car that helped launch the company. While the original Roadster was based on a Lotus platform, Musk has since admitted that basing the vehicle on an existing car was a mistake.

Chief designer Franz von Holzhausen has said that the next Roadster will “show what Tesla can do.” That’s enough to make any EV or sports car enthusiast salivate given the abilities of the 4600-pound Model S and the lessons the company has learned since its early days.

With the Tesla drivetrain architecture, a ground-up two-seater built for high performance will undoubtedly amaze. Though Tesla denied it based on shared parts content, the original Roadster was essentially a modified Lotus Elise with a somewhat awkward battery pack.


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Uhm... Why does it have mirrors? I really expect the next Tesla Roadster to be a lot better looking than this, to be honest...
This is just a rendering from Autobild...I agree with you, Red Sage. I think Tesla will really turn Franz von Holzhausen loose on this one.