It seems hard to believe that Tesla’s first production car only hit the road some twelve years ago. Especially when the company has seen its share price rocket past £690 ($900).
Given the wealth of models the company now offers, with more to follow, the origin story of Tesla is a little more humble.
However, Tesla aficionados will have the chance to add the original Roadster to their garage at the forthcoming 2020 Race Retro sale.
Batteries are included
Organised by Silverstone Auctions as part of the Race Retro show, the sale features numerous road and competition cars up for grabs.
Lot 453 is for this 2011 Tesla Roadster, which could prove to be a desirable item for Elon Musk fans or those with an interest in battery technology.
First launched in 2008, the Tesla Roadster was based on a Lotus Elise chassis but driven by an electric motor. The Roadster marked the first series production car to use lithium-ion battery packs, with a range of up to 200 miles when charged.
Tesla’s initial strategy saw sales volumes kept low, with fewer than 2,500 examples of the original Roadster produced.
This later 2011 Roadster 2.5 is believed to be the final UK-supplied model produced in right-hand drive. When new, Roadster 2.5 cars were priced at £103,000.
Lotus supplied Tesla with ‘glider’ chassis for Roadster production, with only 6 percent of parts claimed to be shared with the Elise. European models saw final assembly take place in the U.K. by Tesla employees.
Power to the people
Roadster 2.5 models came fitted with an upgraded motor, producing 288 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. It allowed the rear-wheel drive Roadster to sprint from 0-62 mph in 3.9 seconds, with a claimed top speed of 125 mph.
Fully charged, the Roadster 2.5 was set to offer a total range of 244 miles. The electric range of the Roadster was part of a controversial feature on Top Gear, with a dispute ending in legal proceedings being brought for libel.
Tesla stated that the battery pack fitted to Roadster models should have a usable lifespan of seven years or 100,000 miles. Replacements are hard to find though, with the auction listing making no comment on the current state of the battery.
In terms of usage, the car up for auction has covered 37,800 miles from new. A documented service history shows the last maintenance work being undertaken in July 2019.
As a 2.5 car, the Roadster benefited from a revised front bumper, new rear diffuser, and forged wheels finished in black.
This car was ordered with French Navy Blue, combined with a tan leather interior. 2.5 versions of the Roadster also gained improved sports seats for better comfort.
Key piece of EV history
Silverstone Auctions estimates that the Roadster could make between £55,000 and £65,000 when it crosses the block. This reflects the rarity of right-hand drive Roadsters, along with the desirable specification.
Being an important part of Tesla’s history is likely to further the appeal, with the company set to launch a replacement for the Roadster later this year.
Elon Musk famously launched his personal Roadster into space, making it the first production car to orbit the planet. With the Race Retro sale taking place on Saturday 22nd February, potential bidders have time to plan what to do with this Roadster.