Tesla boosts Roadster to 400-mile range

Tesla has announced a retrofit upgrade to its Roadster, which improves aerodynamics, drag, battery strength and range -- which now allows the Roadster to go 400 miles between charges, the company said.

Tesla Motors has made a habit out of making continued improvements to its vehicles after they leave the showroom, sometimes with software "updates" that look like recalls, and sometimes with actual improvements.

The company announced one of the latter on Friday, giving Tesla Roadster owners a "Roadster 3.0" holiday gift.

Tesla said in a statement that battery technology is so improved that the company will do a nonstop run from San Francisco to Los Angeles shortly after Jan. 1 -- demonstrating a claimed best-in-class range of more than 400 miles.

That's a substantial improvement over the current Roadster's claimed 245-mile range.

The extended mileage is also due in part to a lower drag coefficient, the company said, and to reduced rolling resistance. In layman's terms, that means improved aerodynamics and better coasting as a result of lower friction from tires and brakes.

Tesla said its new Roadster 3.0 battery is 31% more efficient than the battery it introduced in 2008.

The company stopped building the Roadster in 2012, to concentrate on its Model S and upcoming Model X models.

What Tesla won't say is when the Roadster 3.0 package will be available to current owners, or at what price -- because the retrofit is still in the prototype phase.

Chicago tribune | By Charles Fleming

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