A Rare Opportunity: The 2011 Tesla Roadster Performance Package Development Mule Heads to Auction

  • 🏎️ A rare 2011 Tesla Roadster Performance Package Development Mule is up for auction.
  • 🕰️ This is the first time such a vehicle is available for purchase.
  • 🚗 In 2011, Tesla focused on launching the Model S prototype, marking a shift towards mainstream premium EVs.
  • 🛠️ The development mule has unique features, including an exposed carbon fiber body.
  • ⚙️ It is equipped with Tarox brakes, a Continental ABS flash tune, a Holing differential, and a custom Bilstein suspension.
  • 🔋 The mule has an 80 KWh battery pack, providing substantial range.
  • 🚧 It began as a damaged Tesla Roadster 2.5 Sport and was repurposed for upgrades instead of being repaired.
  • 🚫 The performance package was never released to consumers or made into production.
  • 📈 Tesla’s focus shifted to the Model S, paving the way for future successes like the Model Y.

Tesla Motors has always been a pioneer in electric vehicle (EV) technology, and its Roadster models have topped the list of most desirable electric sports cars. However, few know about the exclusive and rare 2011 Tesla Roadster Performance Package Development Mule that has recently emerged from the shadows and is now heading to auction. This unreleased gem not only has a fascinating backstory but also showcases Tesla’s innovative engineering prowess at a time when the company was preparing to revolutionize the EV market. Let’s delve into the extraordinary journey of this one-of-a-kind Roadster.

The Context: Tesla in 2011

Before diving into the specifics of this remarkable vehicle, it is essential to understand Tesla’s situation in 2011. At that time, Tesla was transitioning from being a niche electric sports car manufacturer to becoming a mainstream premium EV company. The unveiling of the Model S prototype was a pivotal moment in Tesla’s history, signaling a new era focused on mass-market electric sedans. Resources and attention were primarily directed at bringing the Model S to life, a move that would eventually set the foundation for the company’s tremendous success.

The Enigmatic 2011 Tesla Roadster Performance Package Development Mule

The Genesis

The 2011 Tesla Roadster Performance Package Development Mule began as a damaged Tesla Roadster 2.5 Sport. Instead of repairing the vehicle, Tesla decided to use it as a development platform to experiment with performance upgrades. This move was aligned with the company’s broader innovation strategies, aiming to push the boundaries of what electric sports cars could achieve.

Unique Features and Upgrades

One of the most striking aspects of this development mule is its exposed carbon fiber body—an attribute that sets it apart from any other Tesla Roadster sold to date. But the uniqueness doesn’t stop at its appearance. Below are some of the notable upgrades:

  • Tarox High-Performance Brakes: Ensuring better braking capability than standard models.
  • Custom ABS Flash Tune by Continental: Enhances braking efficiency and safety.
  • Holing Differential: Offers improved torque distribution for better handling.
  • Custom-Tuned Bilstein Suspension: Provides a more refined and responsive driving experience.
  • 80 KWh Battery Pack: This substantial battery pack gives the development mule a range that remains impressive even by today’s standards.

This package was never made available to consumers and remained confined to Tesla’s internal testing phases.

A Missed Opportunity?

The Roadster Performance Package Development Mule never went into production. Tesla’s strategic focus shifted towards launching the Model S, a decision that in hindsight appears to have been more than justified. The Model S was groundbreaking, redefining what modern electric vehicles could achieve and setting the stage for subsequent models like the Model 3, Model X, and Model Y, the latter becoming the world’s best-selling car by volume in 2023.

Why This Auction Is Significant

For automotive enthusiasts and Tesla collectors, the auction of this rare development mule is nothing short of monumental. Here’s why:

  1. Historical Significance: This vehicle is a piece of Tesla’s developmental history, a rare artifact from a time when the company was transforming.
  2. Unique Features: With its bespoke upgrades and unique bodywork, owning this vehicle offers an unmatched blend of history and performance.
  3. Collector’s Item: Given that this is the first time the vehicle is available for purchase, it stands as a unique opportunity for collectors and Tesla aficionados alike.

The Future Implications

The emergence of this development mule at an auction invites a broader discussion on Tesla’s evolution and the future of electric sports cars. While Tesla continues to innovate with models like the Cybertruck and future iterations of the Roadster, this development mule serves as a reminder of the company’s relentless drive to improve and innovate.


The 2011 Tesla Roadster Performance Package Development Mule is more than just a car; it’s a testament to Tesla’s innovative spirit during a critical period of its history. As it heads to auction, it offers a unique glimpse into what could have been and stands as a symbol of the relentless pursuit of perfection that characterizes Tesla.

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