Musk's Roadster goals risk another Tesla distraction

Tesla automotive sales growth relies on a successful mass-market Model 2 launch, but Musk has his eyes elsewhere

Musk's Roadster goals risk another Tesla distraction
Musk says the new Roadster will ship next year

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has announced that the automaker has finalised the design of a new Tesla Roadster, aiming to ship the vehicle in 2025.

This timeline would see Tesla will be bringing the Roadster to market at the same time as – if not before – its keenly-awaited 'Model 2' EV.

"Production design [is] complete and unveil [is] at the end of the year; [we are] aiming to ship next year," Musk wrote on social media site X, formerly Twitter.

The upcoming affordable new Tesla that has been dubbed Model 2 is slated to be a compact EV shipping at around $25,000, a price level which could ensure a high degree of market penetration if it can be manufactured as Musk projects.

The Model 2's specs and timeline have been known since last year, and yet Musk's tweets seem to suggest the Roadster has been elevated as a priority for release before the Model 2.

With the latest Roadster announcements, Tesla will have to hope that talk of the high-performance sports car will not detract from the ramp-up of the product that holds the key to the company's growth.

Writing on X, Musk revealed that "tonight, we radically increased the design goals for the new Tesla Roadster", which he says will achieve 0-60mph in under a second.

"There will never be another car like this, if you could even call it a car," the CEO adds.

At a time of sluggish EV demand caused by high sticker prices, high interest rates, and disappearing purchase incentives, a mass-market affordable EV from a brand with the reputation of Tesla could be key to kickstarting the next wave of growth for the EV industry.

The automaker will likely face questions from investors about how a low-volume, high-performance niche vehicle will therefore materially improve the company's bottom line and not just risk becoming another distraction.

Concerns may also be exacerbated by reports that Musk's insistence on Level 4+ autonomous driving capabilities have already delayed the Model 2 launch for several years.

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Product preference

Musk's effusiveness about the Roadster echoes his sentiments on the Cybertruck. At November's Cybertruck's launch event, the CEO said that the vehicle was "a better truck than a truck and a better sports car than a sports car”.

Thus far, though, the Cybertruck can be seen as another example of a shiny, high-tech vehicle with only niche appeal that has held Tesla back from product offerings with wider appeal. The much-hyped launch of the electric truck was met by disappointment at the higher-than-expected price and repeated backtracks on production goals. Tesla may also be struggling to convert reservations into firm orders.

Investors may prefer to see fewer distractions from the Model 2 production timeline – especially since management has said the company will see no material growth until it is launched.

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