FREMONT, California — Tesla Roadster owners willing to pay almost $300 per extra mile of range finally get the chance to take longer drives between battery charges with a long-awaited upgraded battery pack that went on sale this week.
About 80 percent of the estimated 2,500 Tesla Roadsters sold worldwide — those designated as versions 2.0 and 2.5 — are eligible for the upgrade.
The 70 kiloWatt-hour lithium-ion pack, developed and built by Tesla Motors and hand-assembled at the company's Northern California manufacturing plant, will cost $29,000 and adds approximately 100 miles to the Lotus-based Roadster's 245-mile range.
Tesla stopped building the Roadster in 2012 when Lotus discontinued manufacturing the vehicle platform that was heavily modified for the two-seat electric sports car.
Installation of the new battery pack also requires reworking of the Roadster's battery controller and power electronics, a cost included in the price of the upgraded pack.
Tesla says the new battery is "slightly heavier" than the original, but doesn't address any impact on vehicle performance.
Tesla, which is requiring a $5,000 deposit with each order, says it can assemble only two to three new Roadster batteries a week and that it is not making a profit on them.
There's no word on how long it will take from placing an order to getting the battery installed at a Roadster owner's nearest Tesla service center, and no word on a warranty for the new battery.
The electric vehicle manufacturer said it will recycle or reuse all original battery modules that are replaced with the new battery packs and "will reuse many other components" from the original batteries.
Edmunds says: If you've got the dough you'll get to go — farther.