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You could buy this rare Tesla Roadster heading to auction

2020 Race Retro Tesla Roadster

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

2020 Race Retro Tesla Roadster

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.

2020 Race Retro Tesla Roadster

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

2020 Race Retro Tesla Roadster

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. 

2020 Race Retro Tesla Roadster

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

2020 Race Retro Tesla Roadster

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.

Why the Tesla Cybertruck won’t be legal in Europe

Tesla Cybertruck wouldn’t be legal in Europe

The Tesla Cybertruck will require “strong modifications to the basic structure” to be legal for sale in Europe, according to a German TUV safety certification expert.

While the Cybertruck has orders into the hundreds of thousands from prospective buyers across the world, when exactly it will be sold outside America – if indeed it can be – remains unclear.

Because the Cybertruck is classed as a light duty truck in the USA, it gets exemptions from many safety regulations, including for pedestrian safety. That’s not the case in Europe, however.

Tesla Cybertruck wouldn’t be legal in Europe

“The front of the vehicle must not be stiff,” explains Stefan Teller, expert at SGS-TUV Saar GmbH.

“The bumper and bonnet must be able to absorb energy to protect the pedestrians,” meaning those “strong modifications to the basic structure,” would be necessary. Teller follows that for type approval, the Cybertruck would need to be compliant with 50 to 60 different regulations. 

Looking back to the reveal of the Cybertruck, much was made of how stiff and strong its rolled stainless steel structure and panels were. Great for sledgehammers, but potentially deadly for the occupants and unwitting pedestrians…

Tesla Cybertruck wouldn’t be legal in Europe

Regulations require that new cars deform in very specific ways, depending on the nature of an accident. For the occupants, the car needs to basically disintegrate in order to dissipate energy. For pedestrians, a car needs to be able to cushion the blow in the event of an impact.

With the Cybertruck, “nothing is deformed in the event of an impact; instead, enormous forces act on the occupants. Airbags then no longer help”.

On this basis, “It will not be possible to sell it in this country as a mass-production vehicle on the basis of a type approval,” Teller says. “It is still a big task for Mr. Musk.”

Tesla shares pass £690, following leaps in value

Tesla stock jumps in price

Tesla shares have been leaping in value at rates few could have predicted in recent weeks. Its share price has more than doubled overall since the surge began.

That rather puts paid to those who said the Cybertruck would bring the electric car marque to its knees.

The news that share prices soared beyond $900 (£690) this morning will also upset those who bought and sold, for fear of the bubble bursting.

Tesla Model 3 Performance

The value jump isn’t without precedent, though. Tesla posted year-to-date revenue of $7.38 billion (£5.66 billion). That’s a slight increase on the year before, and a £292 million jump compared with Wall Street’s forecast for the company.

In terms of deliveries, the marque is anticipating early deliveries for those who put their name down for a Model Y. The good news continues in manufacturing, as production has ramped up at Tesla’s Chinese Gigafactory.

Tesla battery life loss

Others have suggested that how people look at the Tesla brand is key to its success. While carmakers are seen as slightly behind the times, Tesla is seen as closer to a tech company.

“We think they are pretty far ahead in battery and EV technology,” said Adam Jonas, an analyst at Morgan Stanley.

“Tesla has moved from being seen as an auto stock, to being seen as a tech stock… mentioned in the same breath as Amazon, Apple and Google.”

Tesla battery life loss

Early predictions are for further rises in stock prices. Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Avada Trade, says a £770+ stock price is possible next quarter. All of a sudden, the Cybertruck stock drop in November feels like a long time ago.

“Of course, one should always keep in mind that a small correction in the stock price is the usual practice,” he said “but as long as the momentum doesn’t die, the potential is always strong.”

Tesla Model S and X could offer 400-mile electric range soon

Tesla Model S range

Tesla boss Elon Musk has announced during a financial meeting that the Model S and Model X are due a new EPA rating for range. According to the American standard, the existing cars are rated at 373 miles and 328 miles respectively.

While this isn’t a physical update, Musk did field questions as to why the Model S and X hadn’t adopted the ‘2170’ battery cell used in the Model 3 and Model Y.

“We’re pretty happy with the energy content of the [current] cell, and the improvements in the efficiency of the vehicle,” he explained. The Model S received its last range upgrade last year, jumping to a circa 370-mile WLTP-certified figure for both the USA and Europe.

As for what’s to come, Musk hinted that “We’re rapidly approaching a 400-mile range for Model S”.

Plaid powertrain is ‘like alien technology’Tesla Model S range

 

Speaking about the upcoming Plaid powertrain, Musk said “This is like alien technology, it’s insane”. Plaid will consist of three motors when it arrives on a top-end Model S later this year. Whether this version will offer a range upgrade to take it past the 400-mile barrier remains to be seen.

More likely, it is partly a rebuttal to claims that Teslas cannot sustain their performance for extended periods of time. Tesla was hot on the heels of Porsche at the Nordschleife, following the record set by the Taycan, with a Plaid-equipped prototype Model S. It claims to have beaten the four-door lap record at Laguna Seca, too. 

Musk has revealed before that Plaid will also be available on the Model X SUV, along with the upcoming Roadster. The 3 and Y, however, will miss out on the three-motor drivetrain.

500,000 Teslas to be investigated

Half a million Teslas to be investigated after claims of unwanted acceleration

500,000 Teslas to be investigated

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced it will review a request to investigate half a million Tesla vehicles. This comes after numerous reports of unintended acceleration. 

It seems that Teslas cars of all ages are affected, with 2012 to 2019 Model S examples (the life of the model), 2016-2019 Model X and 2018-2019 Model 3 included. The petition, which requests this review, references 127 complaints from consumers to the NHTSA regarding 123 individual cars, 110 crashes and 52 injuries.

Tesla Sentry Mode battery drain

This follows a recent incident with a Model 3 in Indiana, where a car collided with a parked fire engine, killing a passenger. It’s the 14th road incident involving a Tesla that has invoked the NHTSA’s special crash investigation program because the ‘Autopilot’ system was suspected to be in use. 

A similar issue affected the Toyota Prius a few years ago with a sticking pedal mechanism causing unintended acceleration.

Tesla Sentry Mode battery drain

There has been a great deal of debate around whether Tesla’s semi-autonomous driving system ‘Autopilot’ is inappropriately named. Numerous videos have surfaced online of drivers taking the ‘Autopilot’ name quite literally, and not paying adequate attention to the road. In the case of drivers that were filmed sleeping, that’s not paying any attention. 

Aside from the autopilot and acceleration issues, Tesla also had some unwanted attention from the NHTSA over fires. In October, it was announced the company would be reviewed over whether 2,000 of its cars should have been recalled over a fire risk, instead of rolling out a software update.

Tesla Sentry Mode: How much battery does it use?

Tesla Sentry Mode battery drain

Sentry Mode is one of the cleverer features Tesla has deployed in recent months. It’s also one that many owners could find themselves using regularly – so how does it work and how much power does it use?

We spoke to a Tesla owner, who gave us some insight into his experiences with Sentry Mode.

What is Tesla Sentry Mode?Tesla Sentry Mode battery drain

Sentry Mode uses systems already built into Teslas made after August 2017. These monitor the car’s surroundings and deter threats should they arise.

A Tesla in Sentry Mode rests in ‘Standby’, with the cameras active. If a mild threat is detected, such as someone leaning on the car, it switches to ‘Alert’, displaying a message on the touchscreen telling passers-by they’re being watched.

‘Alarm’ is when things heat up, as a response to a serious threat like a window being smashed. At this point, the car alarm goes off, music sets to full volume and the centre display jumps in brightness. The owner also gets a message to warn them of an incident. 

Each time you want Sentry Mode to run, you have to enable it via the a sub-menu, accessible through ‘Controls’, then ‘Safety and Security’.

Does Sentry Mode drain the battery?Tesla Sentry Mode battery drain

Sentry Mode sounds like a great idea. It’s essentially a free dashcam. There is however, a downside: the amount of power it uses. 

In spite of not being screen-intensive, or involving driving at all, our owner reports that it consumes battery life at a rate of one mile per hour. With 262 miles of range, that obviously equates to 262 hours, or 11 days, before the battery is fully drained.

Tesla Sentry Mode battery drain

Then consider that Sentry Mode is automatically turned off when the car reaches 50 miles of range, so that leaves 212 hours of Sentry Mode activity in this example. In the highest-range Model S, with 370 miles of power in the battery, that gives 320 hours of time that Sentry Mode can be active – or just under two weeks.

The Sentry Mode Catch 22Tesla Sentry Mode battery drain

So, the scenario in which you’re most likely to turn Sentry Mode on – long trips away – is also when you probably don’t want to in order to save battery. Of course, you can negate this by having long-term parking with charging.

Nevertheless, the battery drain of Sentry Mode is causing owners to think twice about using it.

Should you use Sentry Mode?Tesla Sentry Mode battery drain

Sentry Mode runs the cameras, and utilises the car’s brain. The entire Auto Pilot system is running while the feature is in use. Actual recording is triggered by motion detection, but in its ‘Standby’ state, there remains the significant power draw. A bit of forethought is therefore required before pressing the button.

Are you going to be away for a while? Will you be in range of a Supercharger when you return? Is there the option of leaving the car plugged in? Is Sentry Mode really necessary where you’ve parked it?

Assess the situation before you decide, or you risk being out of range when you return to the car. 

Tesla’s 1,000mph V3 Supercharger has arrived in London

Tesla V3 supercharger in London

Tesla has begun rolling out its super-fast V3 Superchargers in Europe, with the first appearing in London at the Park Royal service centre.

This also represents the 500th Supercharger station to open in Europe, following the network’s introduction in Norway in 2013.

Tesla V3 Supercharging: what it meansTesla V3 supercharger in London

V2 Superchargers already offer an impressive rate of charging for Tesla cars. Their maximum power output was recently upgraded from 120kW to 150kW. The V3 units move things on massively, offering a peak output of 250kW.

For context, pictured is a Tesla charging at a rate of 1,021 electric range miles per hour. It shows 20 minutes remaining on the charge to get to 100 percent from 18 percent.

An important aspect of V3 charging is that power isn’t split between you and another car sharing your stall. So you get that maximum output more of the time.

Tesla says V3 can provide 75 miles of charge in five minutes, at maximum capacity, to a Model 3 Long Range. Overall, the company reckons it will halve the amount of time drivers spend charging. Average charge time at V3 stalls should be around 15 minutes, or 225 miles, which is close to a full fill-up for some lower-end cars.

Charging this quickly might sound like it could damage the battery. Indeed, there are certain preparations the cars can make before being plugged in. ‘On-Route Battery Warmup’ is a feature that rolled out to Teslas when V3 Superchargers first appeared in March. Cars that are navigating to a Supercharger will ready their batteries to the correct temperature.

Tesla V3 supercharger in London

‘We are excited to continue to build the most extensive and advanced network in Europe whilst keeping the charging experience as affordable and convenient as possible for all our customers,’ said Tesla.

‘When we opened the first European station in Norway in 2013, driving across multiple countries in a fully electric car was inconceivable and seen as a unique accomplishment. With the Supercharger network, long distance EV travel has become the new normal. Every day, thousands of Tesla owners undertake a road trip through Europe and stop at Supercharger stations.’

Supercharge your Christmas by hiring a Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S Enterprise Rent-A-Car

Fed up of reading about and watching videos of Teslas? Want to experience one for yourself? Well, Enterprise Rent-A-Car has bought some for its fleet.

Don’t worry, this isn’t the Cybertruck that Elon Musk was flaunting around LA. It’s the familiar, likeable-as-it-is-luxurious Model S.

The Model S has been on sale for a while, but it’s still the electric car to be spotted in. Short of a supercar or gas-guzzling performance SUV, it’s Instagram gold.

It also boasts one of the longest electric driving ranges money can buy: up to a claimed 370 miles on a full charge. So those who aren’t familiar with recharging an EV can enjoy more in the ‘tank’ between fill-ups.

Tesla battery life loss

Then there’s the performance. Why spend so much renting a McLaren or Ferrari, when you could have a Model S that’ll beat both away from the lights, while taking family and friends along for the ride? Yes, McLarens and Ferraris have redeeming features beyond their performance, but the Tesla’s numbers are truly shocking, every time, even for the initiated. Imagine the thrill for someone new to the Model S.

The car joins a fleet that Enterprise says is one of the cleanest in the UK. Around four in 10 alternatively-fuelled rental cars were bought by Enterprise last year. That includes EVs, plug-in hybrids and vans.

“We know that many customers are thinking about whether electric vehicles could be right for them, which is why we’ve extended our own EV fleet with this Tesla model,” said Brendan Grieve of Enterprise.

Tesla Model S Enterprise Rent-A-Car

“It means that in addition to enabling people to rent more low emission vehicles, we can also act as a ‘shop window’ so that people can get to try out something a bit different that they may want to buy later.

“With Christmas just around the corner, customers can treat themselves to a different kind of drive this holiday season, whether it is to do some festive shopping or simply to enjoy taking out a luxury zero-emission car for a day.”

Tesla batteries lose just 1% capacity each year

Tesla battery life loss

A real-world study of Teslas has revealed how much battery capacity the electric cars lose over time. And the good news is the losses are marginal: around one percent each year.

Just as an internal combustion car loses horsepower over time, electric cars have less battery capacity as they age. Think of it as your car’s fuel tank getting marginally smaller every year.

The Tesla research was carried out by Plug In America and analysed by NimbleFins. Five hundred Tesla Model S owners submitted data on the usage of their cars. These included when it was manufactured, bought, the battery size, the quoted range (when new) and the mileage the car has covered.

Tesla battery life loss

A general takeaway is that the more mileage an electric car has, the more battery capacity it will have lost. Remember, more mileage means more charging. The car with the highest mileage in the study, a Model S P85 with 232,442 miles, was capable of charging to a 220-mile capability. That’s 83 percent of its original 265-mile range when new. Up to around 150,000 miles, the cars seem to retain 90 percent of their charge capacity.

‘It’s interesting to see that a car with unusually high mileage for the age (over 143,000 miles for a car less than 5 years old) has more significant battery deterioration than a typical car of the same age,’ said the report.

‘This shows that mileage is also a considerable factor in how quickly a battery deteriorates—this makes sense, as more miles driven means more charge cycles, and it’s mostly the charge cycles that reduce a battery’s usable capacity.’

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The average mileage in the UK is 7,600 a year. On that basis, an original high-end Model S would take 30 years to reach that unusually high mileage of 230,000 miles, or 20 years to reach 150,000 miles. With the assumption, of course, that time doesn’t play into that degradation.

It would be very interesting to test a seven-year-old Model S that hasn’t covered any miles.

Tesla battery life loss

Overall, the results seem to show that battery tech used even in the very first Teslas is relatively robust. Many worry about the longevity of electric cars, but if their performance at what is considered end-of-life mileage (and even beyond) is as suggested, buyers can expect a decent life.

And as battery technology progresses, so too may the already impressive longevity.

Elon Musk spotted driving Cybertruck in LA

Elon Musk Tesla Cybertruck LA

In the weeks since its reveal, the furore around Tesla’s Cybertruck hasn’t relented. Some even speculated that this otherworldly all-electric answer to Ford’s F150 wasn’t actually real.

Well, speculate no longer. It’s been spotted out in the wild, with its windows fully intact, mingling with traffic in Los Angeles and heading out to dinner.

Elon Musk Tesla Cybertruck LA

It somehow looks even crazier out in traffic surrounded by normal cars. Jack Phan, the Twitter user who posted the snap, speculated about whether it was Mr Musk himself behind the wheel.

We can’t imagine it being anyone else and he can’t have been worried about being spotted. The Tesla Cybertruck could make a Lamborghini Countach driving with its doors up blend into the background.

In a follow-up post, the truck is pictured at Nobu Sushi stealing the show in a car park populated by McLarens and Range Rovers. A clear shot at the front shows Musk and friends six-up in the truck.

With all lights and eyes on the Cybertruck, its harsh sharp edges are almost glowing as they reflect.

Elon Musk Tesla Cybertruck LA

As of 27 November, over 250,000 people had placed an order for a Cybertruck. It remains to be seen how many people actually see it through to delivery. You can place an order with a fully-refundable £100 down payment.

Deliveries of the Cybertruck aren’t expected to begin until 2022, so those with a reservation have plenty of time to consider their purchase. That also gives Tesla and Mr Musk time to have a tug-of-war rematch with Ford and the F150, after he accepted a tongue-in-cheek challenge from a Ford high-up.