Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] hasn't built its Roadster in almost half a decade, but the electric car builder hasn't entirely forgotten about the model.
Now, it has released its 3.0 upgrade for select versions of what was basically the firm's beta electric car.
The upgrade must be performed by hand by Tesla, and it requires a $5,000 deposit toward the $29,000 total price. That's a hefty sum of money, but it does buy Roadster owners a 95-mile range increase to 340 mi under optimal conditions. The previous Roadster topped out at 245 mi.
Tesla says that the upgrade isn't designed to be profitable. In a release, the firm explained just why version 3.0 is so expensive: "The reason the cost per kilowatt-hour is higher than a Model S battery is due to the almost entirely hand-built, low-volume (only two or three per week) nature of Roadster battery packs. lt also includes additional work to remove, upgrade, and reinstall the power electronics module."
More than just a software and battery upgrade, version 3.0 additionally includes a new, more aerodynamic body kit that helps the car achieve its greater range.
While this seems like great news for the small number of Roadsters on the road, the upgrade is rather late and not quite what we were expecting. Tesla CEO Elon Musk made first mention of the upgrade back in late 2014 and at the time he said it would give the car a 400-mi range. Note, this could be the last update prior to the next-generation Roadster, which Tesla has indicated is due in 2019.