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Tesla Roadster 3.0 update: San Jose to LA without recharging

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Issei Kato/Reuters/FIle

(Read caption) A Tesla Motors Roadster electric car drives in Tokyo in 2010. Telsa has confirmed an update of its first product, the Roadster 3.0, which has an extended range of between 40 and 50 percent.

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Back in December, we first received confirmation of the "3.0" update for the Tesla Roadster, the electric-car maker's very first product, sold in the U.S. from 2008 through 2011.

Tesla claimed the update would boost the Roadster's range 40 to 50 percent, and said a real-world demonstration was forthcoming.

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Now, that's been taken care of.

A prototype Roadster 3.0 recently made the trip from San Jose, California, to the Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles without stopping to recharge.

That's a distance of approximately 340 miles, completed without any hiccups, according to a company blog post.

While Tesla's original announcement of the Roadster 3.0 boasted that it could be driven over 400 miles per charge in certain conditions, this real-world test still showed a nearly 100-mile boost in range compared to the current car's 244 miles.

Tesla also claims 20 miles worth of charge remained after completing the six-hour drive.

The test trip started at the first Tesla Store in San Jose, and followed the I-5 to Santa Monica Pier, via a second Tesla Store on the 3rd Street Promenade.

Cruise control was used on the highway sections of the route--set "to stay right around the speed limit"--and the heater was turned on for approximately 40 minutes, according to Tesla.

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The Roadster 3.0 upgrade consists of three major components.

The first is a boost in battery-pack capacity from 53 kilowatt-hours to around 70-kWh, which will be accomplished using new battery cells with higher energy density.

The second element is an aero kit that Tesla says will lower the coefficient of drag by about 15 percent from the current 0.31.

Finally, the updated Roadster will be equipped with lower rolling resistance tires. Tesla previously said the coefficient of rolling resistance will be reduced from 11.0 kilograms per ton to 8.9 kg/ton.

Tesla won't yet discuss pricing, availability, or the timing of the Roadster 3.0's launch.

The company said it will apply lessons learned from the trip to continue development, meaning it could still be a while before customers can reinvigorate their Roadsters.