With the demise of the Lotus Elise in the United States, the Tesla Roadster's fate was sealed. With no chassis rolling out of Hethel, Tesla had to end production of the Roadster and shift its focus to the Model S and the just-revealed Model X.
But some kind of Roadster successor has always been in the cards and as Tesla's SEC filings revealed two years ago, the new sports car was supposed to arrive next year. But according to Elon Musk, the release of the next Tesla Roadster could be as far as four years away. And probably longer.
Speaking with Inside Line, Musk said said that Tesla's next project will be its "Gen 3" electric car; a smaller, mass-market EV that will carry a more affordable price tag. Originally, this new model was going to launch in 2016, but Musk revealed that the automaker is now "thinking early 2015."
While the escalated timeline is good for EVs, it's not good for EV enthusiasts. According to Musk, the next Roadster won't be out until after the Gen 3 launches, and that means Tesla won't have another sports car until 2016 at the earliest.
Given Tesla's more mass-market posturing (as battery prices fall), I predict the next Roadster will also be much more affordable, and probably based on the same platform architecture as the Model S and Model X.
As the recently revealed Model X features AWD, it would be nice to have the option of RWD or AWD in the next Roadster.