Unreleased Tesla Roadster performance package mule heads to auction

rivian news Unreleased Tesla Roadster performance package mule heads to auction

Courtesy of Tesla, Inc.

A rare piece of Tesla history is up for auction, and it will likely fetch a very notable price among automotive enthusiasts and collectors. The vehicle, a 2011 Tesla Roadster Performance Package Development Mule, is the only one of its kind that can be purchased today. In fact, this is the first time that such a vehicle could even be bought, period.

Back in 2011, Tesla was a much different company. At the time, Tesla was preparing to launch the car that would change the company from a niche electric sports car maker to a fairly mainstream premium EV company. Tesla unveiled the Model S prototype in 2011, so it would not be inaccurate to state that at the time, the company was focusing a lot of its resources on the development of the all-electric premium sedan.

But as could be seen in the 2011 Tesla Roadster Performance Package Development Mule, the Elon Musk-led company was also working on an upgraded version of its first consumer vehicle around the same time. As noted by Cars & Bids, which is currently putting the rare vehicle up for auction, the unreleased development mule features a number of upgrades that cannot be found on any Tesla Roadster that has been sold to date.

Most noticeable is the development mule’s exposed carbon fiber body, which is unique to the vehicle. It is also fitted with Tarox high-performance brakes, a custom anti-lock braking system flash tune developed by Continental, a differential from Holing, and a Bilstein suspension with a custom tune. The development mule is also equipped with an 80 KWh battery pack, which should give the vehicle more than enough range even by today’s standards.

As noted by Cars & Bids in its video for the vehicle, the one-of-one development mule started its life as a Tesla Roadster 2.5 Sport that was damaged in a crash. The vehicle was taken back to Tesla for repair, but the company instead opted to use the vehicle to develop an upgrade to the Roadster, much like the vehicle’s R80 (3.0) upgrade. While the Tesla Roadster R80 (3.0) mostly featured internal upgrades, the development mule was more noticeable due to its exposed carbon fiber body.

Unfortunately for the Tesla Roadster performance mule, it never made it to production and thus, the package was never sold to consumers. Tesla would go on to put its resources into the Model S, which would then become the car that changed the entire idea of what modern electric vehicles can be like. What came next was history, of course, and it includes milestones such as the Model Y becoming the world’s best-selling car by volume in 2023.

Cars & Bids’ listing for the 2011 Tesla Roadster Performance Package Development Mule can be accessed here. A walkthrough of the vehicle can be viewed in the video below.

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