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Tesla Roadster sets new EV benchmark. Image by Tesla.

Tesla Roadster sets new EV benchmark
Electric sports car can beat a Bugatti Chiron from 0-60mph.
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What's all this... no, hang on, what are all these about?

This is the Tesla Semi (no sniggering at the back, please) truck and, more excitingly, the new Tesla Roadster.

A double whammy from Tesla?

Yup, it would seem so. Tesla had been heavily trailing the launch of the Semi truck ahead of its unveiling, but the Roadster came as something of a surprise.

Let's get the truck out of the way first.

OK. Tesla is gunning for the US heavy freight market with the Semi, but it'll eventually be sold around the world. Launching the Semi, Tesla's publicity-seeking boss Elon Musk said that using diesel in trucks would fast become outmoded. The Semi can use partially autonomous robot driving tech to run in close-quarter convoy, and it has a claimed range of 500-miles on one charge.

Tesla hasn't yet revealed how much payload the truck can haul, and it has received something of a lukewarm reception from big trucking fleets so far, but Musk says that Tesla will invest in a global network of solar-powered 'Megacharger' fast-charge stations to support the fleet. The truck also has armour-plated glass for the cab (which also features a McLaren F1-style central driving position), which Musk claimed could "survive a nuclear explosion, or you'll get a full refund".

It's quick too - Tesla claims that the Semi can hit 0-60mph in around five seconds, and can drive faster up steep gradients than an equivalent diesel truck carrying the same load.

Thanks for that, now on to the interesting stuff in the back of the truck.

This is more like it. Tesla decided to upstage its own event by rolling out the new USD$200,000 Roadster at the same time. While the new car lifts its name from Tesla's first Lotus Elise-based electric sports car, this all-new model is quite different. In fact, it can outperform the current hypercar benchmark, the Bugatti Chiron, with a claimed 0-60mph time of 1.9 seconds 0-60mph sprint time and supposed top speed of 250mph.

There's a 200kWh battery stack on board, and Tesla claims that the Roadster has a one-charge range of some 620-miles, although you won't be getting anywhere near that if you're using its performance most of the time.

Inside there's a stripped-down cockpit, with a vertical, portrait-style giant screen, and the roadster element is a lift-out targa-style panel in the roof.

So what did Mr Musk have to say?

"You'll be able to travel from Los Angeles to San Francisco and back at highway speed without recharging. The point of doing this is to just give a hardcore smackdown to gasoline cars. Driving a gasoline sports car is going to feel like a steam engine with a side of quiche."

He doesn't like petrol cars, does he? So when can I buy either of these?

Tesla is currently taking USD$50,000 deposits on the Roadster for delivery in 2020, while the Semi is supposedly going to go on sale in 2019. That has to be taken with a big pinch of salt, though, given the trouble Tesla is currently having getting the Model 3 saloon up to full production.

Neil Briscoe - 17 Nov 2017

2018 Tesla Roadster. Image by Tesla.2018 Tesla Roadster. Image by Tesla.2018 Tesla Roadster. Image by Tesla.2018 Tesla Roadster. Image by Tesla.2018 Tesla Roadster. Image by Tesla.

2018 Tesla Roadster. Image by Tesla.2018 Tesla Roadster. Image by Tesla.2018 Tesla Roadster. Image by Tesla.2018 Tesla Roadster. Image by Tesla.2018 Tesla Roadster. Image by Tesla.    - Tesla road tests
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