A few days after its much-ballyhooed IPO, Tesla Motors is acting like a regular car company.
That is, it has announced a new car, The Tesla Roadster 2.5, with a few cosmetic changes.
Along with a new fascia and rear diffuser, the car comes with:
- A new look, which includes a new front fascia with diffusing vents and rear diffuser, reflecting the future of Tesla design
- Directional forged wheels available in both silver and black
- New seats with improved comfort, larger more supportive bolsters and a new lumbar support system
- Power control hardware that enables spirited driving in exceptionally hot climates
- An optional 7" touchscreen display with back-up camera
- Improved interior sound reduction, including a new front fender liner material that makes the cabin even quieter
Nothing about batteries or acceleration in the new car.
Last fall we sat down with Elon Musk at the Frankfurt Auto Show and asked him why the old-line car makers had yet to take Tesla head-on with their own freeway-legal electric cars. In all the booths at the Frankfurt Show, I noted, executives were talking about wheel covers and other cosmetic changes.
"Big companies have a hard time embracing revolutionary change. Why isn't IBM a leader in PCs? They were in mainframes," he said. "The car companies are always jostling for small changes in market share from one year to the next and are competing on little nuances of styling. But they've run out of things to compete on -- and they compete on trivialities."
"They need to pay attention," he added. "The transformation to electric is the biggest thing to happen in the auto industry since the moving production line."
Tesla's stock went public earlier in the week at $17, closing above $23 the first day and is now at around $20.
In all honesty, it is probably good that the Roadster 2.5 has so few important changes. The company has its hands full with prepping for the Model S in 2012 and the electric SUVs it started talking about in January (see first article on that here). If Tesla came out with a completely revamped sports car, people would have begun to worry. Still, it's a tad anticlimactic. Earlier in the year, Tesla said it wouldn't have a new sports car until 2013, then it backtracked. This is the result of backtracking.
P.S. Here's our video of a test drive of the Roadster. Nothing on lumbar support in video, but a lot of fun: