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It's official: Tesla is launching a new Roadster in four years

Buried in the press release announcing today's Tesla news is an important tidbit: there's a new Roadster coming. And it'll be here in four years.

From the release:

There is of course one speed faster than ludicrous, but that is reserved for the next generation Roadster in 4 years: maximum plaid.

The original Roadster, a highly modified version of the small, lightweight Lotus Elise, was Tesla's first production vehicle revealed in 2006 — long before today's Model S sedan. (On the call, Elon Musk confirmed in response to a question that the new Roadster will be an all-new car.) Over the years, that first model has largely fallen by the wayside — it was always intended to be a niche vehicle — though the company has continued to support it, most recently with a "Roadster 3.0" upgrade that improves performance and range.

The next Roadster is big news, though, because it'll help round out Tesla's lineup: in addition to the Model S, the Model X SUV is launching in the next few months, followed by a portfolio of lower-cost Model 3 vehicles that Musk and company are hoping will shoot Tesla fully into the mainstream. The Roadster would help raise the company's profile as a sports car manufacturer, which is a little ironic considering that the Ludicrous Speed upgrade announced today for the P90D already takes the sedan from 0 to 60 in a scant 2.8 seconds. That's full-on supercar territory already, it just isn't presented in a supercar body.

With a new Roadster, that will likely change.