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Elon Musk claims Tesla Roadster coming next year as Chinese EV supercars hit the road

Coincidence or just interesting timing? As Chinese competitors reveal their supercar EV offerings, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted out new specs on the much hyped, and long delayed, Tesla Roadster.

In a series of tweets on X early Wednesday, Musk revealed that production design was complete for the second-generation Roadster, with an unveiling planned for later this year and the company “aiming to ship” next year.

“We radically increased the design goals for the new Tesla Roadster. There will never be another car like this, if you could even call it a car,” Musk wrote, adding that the Roadster was being designed in collaboration with SpaceX and will rocket from zero to 60 mph in under one second.

The Tesla Roadster is on display at the Tesla Giga Texas manufacturing facility during the
The Tesla Roadster is on display at the Tesla Giga Texas manufacturing facility during the "Cyber Rodeo" grand opening party on April 7, 2022, in Austin, Texas. (SUZANNE CORDEIRO/AFP via Getty Images) (SUZANNE CORDEIRO via Getty Images)

While Tesla fans and shareholders are likely very pleased to hear a bit of concrete news on the Roadster, this isn't the first time Musk has teased details on the car. Recall that the Roadster was unveiled back in 2017, with reservations opening up immediately at the time and Tesla taking $50,000 deposits for the car. Tesla even took full $250,000 deposits up front for one of the 1,000 “Foundation Edition” models.

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Five years later, at Tesla’s 2022 Giga Rodeo event celebrating the opening of Giga Austin, Musk gave an update on the Roadster, claiming it would go into production in 2023, following the beginning of production of the CyberTruck.

Tesla Roadster reservation page
Tesla Roadster reservation page. (Tesla) (Tesla.com)

Tesla again opened up Roadster reservations in April of 2022, and they have been open ever since. Potential buyers can now put down a $5,000 deposit via credit card on the Tesla website, then follow that up with a wire transfer for $45,000 within 10 days to secure a reservation.

The Tesla website says the $5,000 credit card deposit is “fully refundable,” but there’s no word on whether the wire transfer is or not. And good luck finding out what the MSRP is for the Roadster, because it isn’t listed. The Roadster originally had a base price of $200,000, with a Founders Edition trim that listed for $250,000 when it debuted.

Chinese electric supercar competition forcing Musk's hand?

GUANGZHOU, CHINA - NOVEMBER 17: A BYD Yangwang U9 electric sports car is on display during the Auto Guangzhou 2023 at China Import & Export Fair Pazhou Complex on November 17, 2023 in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province of China. (Photo by Qu Jinwei/VCG via Getty Images)
A BYD Yangwang U9 electric sports car is on display during the Auto Guangzhou 2023 at China Import & Export Fair Pazhou Complex on Nov. 17, 2023, in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province of China. (Qu Jinwei/VCG via Getty Images) (VCG via Getty Images)

Musk’s tweets come only a few days after Chinese EV giant BYD revealed its Yangwang U9 EV supercar at the Geneva Auto Show. The U9 will only go on sale in China, but will feature 1,300 horsepower, scissor-like doors and a 0-60 mph time of around two seconds. BYD also says the car will be powered by four independent electric motors, one at each wheel, offering true torque vectoring for enhanced control.

Most interestingly, BYD said the U9 will cost 1.68 million RMB, or around $233,000, just above what Tesla said the Roadster would cost back in 2017.

Around two months ago Tesla rival NIO also announced new details on its EP9 electric supercar. The Le Mans race car–like EP9 will have over 1,000 horsepower (or one megawatt or max power), a high-voltage powertrain, interchangeable batteries — and a $3 million price tag.

Both BYD and NIO promise delivery times for later this year. It seems the coming onslaught of electric supercars from Tesla’s China rivals forced Musk to cough up new details on the Roadster — perhaps sooner than he would have liked.

Tesla Roadster fans — and reservation holders down at least $50K — are likely very pleased competition is coming down the road and quickly. And for those Roadster reservation holders, maybe the faster the better.

Pras Subramanian is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. You can follow him on Twitter and on Instagram.

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