Tesla announced a new 3.0 upgrade package for the Roadster. In their prototype testing they have found an increase in range of 40-50% over the original Roadster. Early in 2015, they will be demonstrating this by driving a Roadster from San Francisco to Los Angeles, a distance of 400 miles, without charging.
The range improvements were achieved with three improved technologies: a new battery cell with 31% more energy than the 2008 battery cells, a 15% improvement in aerodynamics with a retrofit aero kit, and 20% improvement in rolling resistance using a new type of tire. They are also making changes in the wheel bearings and residual brake drag.
I am not surprised that Tesla achieved this improvement in range. I was more surprised when I initially looked at the Model S and found how efficient it was in comparison to the Roadster.
Now the approximately 1,500 Roadster owners can increase their range. Having owned a Roadster for several years, I did not find it a car I would want to drive long distances on a regular basis. Although extremely fun to drive, the Roadster is not a particularly comfortable or luxurious car.
The are two more important parts of this news. One is that Tesla continues to support their cars. The second is the demonstrated improvements in battery technology that will likely benefit the Model S down the line along with all future Tesla vehicles. I would always buy the battery with the longest range for road trips and longer shelf life.