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New Tesla Roadster upstages rollout of electric big-rig truck

HAWTHORNE, Calif. — Tesla Inc upstaged its own debut of an electric heavy duty truck when a red Roadster pulled out of the big rig's trailer and Chief Executive Elon Musk said the new $200,000 sports car would be the fastest production car ever.

The Thursday unveiling of two products, including the unexpected Roadster, drew roars of applause from a selected crowd at an airport hangar near Los Angeles while highlighting the ambitions of the luxury electric car maker, which is piling on projects as it struggles to roll out a more affordable sedan on which the company's future depends.

Tesla unveils new semi truck 0:54

As the presentation appeared to end, the Tesla Semi opened its trailer, and the Roadster drove out. The sports car is an updated version of Tesla's first production vehicle. It can seat four and travel 620 miles on a single charge, a new record for an electric vehicle, Musk said. It can go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 1.9 seconds, which would make it the fastest car in general production.

"You’ll be able to travel from L.A. to San Francisco, and back, at highway speed without recharging. The point of doing this is to just give a hardcore smackdown to gasoline cars. Driving a gasoline sports car is going to feel like a steam engine with a side of quiche,” Musk boasted.

Image: Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveils the Roadster 2 during a presentation in Hawthorne, California
Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveils the Roadster 2 during a presentation in Hawthorne, California, on Nov. 16, 2017. Reuters

The first 1,000 cars will cost $250,000 each, paid in full up front, with later models starting at $200,000.

Musk did not give a price for the Semi, or say how or where either product would be built, but he said the truck would begin production in 2019 and that the Roadster would be available a year later.