- SpaceX will attempt ot launch the Falcon Heavy rocket on Tuesday.
- Elon Musk’s personal Tesla Roadster will be the payload.
- The plan is to send to car to Mars and deep space — but I drove it on terra firma.
Space X has loaded CEO Elon Musk’s perfectly good Tesla Roadster atop the Falcon Heavy rocket that will launch on Tuesday in Florida. If everything goes according to plan, the car and its dummy driver, “Starman,” will leave Earth and commence a journey to Mars and beyond. The soundtrack will be David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.”
If disaster strikes, the Roadster will be blown to pieces. Musk is hoping the Falcon Heavy makes it far enough to avoid obliterating the launch pad.
As for the car itself, my feeling is that you never forget your first Tesla.
In 2010, right after the company had survived a near-death experience, I was offered the chance to sample what was then the carmaker’s only vehicle: the original Roadster.
It’s hard to overestimate the importance of this car, which sold for over $100,000, turned in blistering acceleration, and could top 200 miles on a single charge.
The Roadster changed our minds forever about what an electric car could be and launched Tesla on a road to its current $50-billion-plus market cap and a portfolio of, as of 2018, three vehicles: the Model S sedan, the Model X SUV, and the Model 3 car for the masses. A new Roadster, a Semi truck, a pickup, and the Model Y compact SUV are all on the way.
Several years ago, I reminisced about my first time with a Tesla to one of the company’s staffers. This led to a question: Do we even have a Roadster around to check out anymore?
They found one, and I was reunited with my old friend in Los Angeles, on the eve of the Model 3 unveiling in 2016.
Something poetic and romantic about that, I think. Read on to see what it was like.
We were so much younger then … That’s me in early 2010, after a spin in the Roadster Sport version 2.0.
To be reunited with the Roadster, I headed west to Los Angeles and visited the Tesla service center near LAX airport.
Here’s the waiting area for the service center. Tesla actually discontinued Roadster production a few years back, but the company has continued to upgrade the car for loyal owners.