Here's a look back at the Tesla car that started it all
It's easy to forget the Tesla Roadster. Only about 2,400 of them were sold, and for the most part, those cars stayed pretty far under the radar. With its starting price sitting right around $110,000, it wasn't a car that your average consumer was interested in. The fact that it was a two-door, Lotus-based roadster didn't help the cause either.
More than anything else, the Roadster felt like a novelty.
Like the car it was based on, the Roadster was rear-wheel-drive and had its motor placed behind the driver. Depending on the model, the car got either 248 horsepower or 288 horsepower. It was quick, nimble, good-looking, and overall enjoyable. But even though it was successful in all of those aspects, it wasn't the car that Tesla could use to prove that they were capable of going against the proven big-guns in the global automotive world.
Tesla had allocated just 2,500 Lotus shells for the Roadster project. Orders were open from 2008 to late 2011 and by 2012, production had ended.
For Tesla, the Roadster project was largely a massive learning experience. It wasn't the car that set Tesla up for what it is today, but without it, Tesla might not be as successful and glorified as it now is.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk even said that Tesla "ended up changing most of the damn car" to make the car production roadworthy and to remove all the bugs it had after deliveries started. With Musk being the perfectionist that he is, something like that would most definitely not fly in one of Tesla's consumer cars today.
Tesla's current two models, the Model S and the Model X are unlike anything else on the market. Yes, they're electric, but they're also unique, luxurious, high-tech, insanely fast, safer than almost anything else on the road, and overall, very special cars.
The Tesla Roadster was not those things.
On Thursday, we'll see the next chapter for Tesla: the Model 3. It'll be the company's first affordable, mass-produced car. Tech Insider will have all the Model 3 news for you at 11 p.m. Eastern Thursday.