Illustrated: 2013 Tesla Model R
During a presentation to shareholders a few weeks ago, Tesla revealed plans for a new sports car, an SUV, and a utility van based on its forthcoming 2012 Model S. At the event, CEO Elon Musk gave the audience a brief glimpse of what's to come with three sketches -- one of each model.
Ultra-low-res images from Musk's slideshow found their way online, but the grainy quality and blurry details leave a lot to be desired. Lucky for you, we went to the trouble of putting together an exclusive illustration of the most exciting car of the bunch: the 2013 Tesla Model R.
Admittedly, it might not be named Model R, but the sedan is called Model S, so "R" seems fitting for a Roadster. In any case, Tesla has indicated it plans to replace its current Roadster model with an all-new vehicle some time after the launch of the Model S sedan, and it's sure to look something like our rendering, which is based on the official sketch.
Like the S, the Model R is expected to be offered with a choice of three possible battery packs, the best of which will have a range of 300 miles. Whether the R will match the Roadster in terms of performance remains unknown. While the current car can sprint to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds, the Model S sedan is expected to have a 5.5 second zero to sixty time. We're sure the R will be faster and lighter than its sedan sibling, but it's hard to say if it can match the Roadster with what's sure to be a heavier curb weight.
Production of the current Roadster -- which is based on the design of the Lotus Elise -- will end in December of 2011. That's around the same time the Model S will start to roll down the assembly line. Unfortunately, the Roadster replacement won't be ready to fill its shoes immediately. Sources say the Model R won't arrive until at least a year after the Model S hits the market.
Based on all of this, we suspect the R to be available as soon as late 2012, as a 2013 model. That might be a little ambitious -- there are bound to be delays -- but with PayPal and SpaceX on his resumÃ©, we wouldn't put anything past Mr. Musk.
Illustration by Lars Saltzer.