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Tesla Announces Major Upgrades To Roadster 3.0, Expected To Be Able To Travel 400 Miles On Single Charge

PALO ALTO (CBS SF) - Major changes are on the way for Tesla Motors and its Roadster, as company officials said the Roadster 3.0 upgrade will allow for non-stop travel from Los Angeles to San Francisco – about a 400-mile trip.

In a blog post on its website, the Palo Alto-based company said the three major areas of improvement are: batteries, aerodynamics, and rolling resistance.

"The original Roadster battery was the very first lithium ion battery put into production in any vehicle. It was state of the art in 2008, but cell technology has improved substantially since then. We have identified a new cell that has 31 percent more energy than the original Roadster cell. Using this new cell we have created a battery pack that delivers roughly 70kWh in the same package as the original battery," Tesla officials wrote.

In terms of aerodynamics, the original Roadster had a drag coefficient of 0.36, and the company expects a 15 percent improvement with the upgrade. Tesla's Roadster 3.0 is also expected to have a 20 percent improvement in rolling resistance, with improvements in the wheel bearings and residual brake drag.

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk tweeted about the changes on Thursday, with the more detailed announcement coming Friday.

Tesla expects to demonstrate the improvements in the early weeks of 2015, during a non-stop drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

Musk said consumers should not expect any major upgrades in the battery or range of its Model S "in the near term," though it is something on the company's radar in the long term.

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