The new Tesla Roadster, CEO Elon Musk said at its unveiling, will be the quickest street-legal production car ever.
But there's nothing quick about production of the Roadster itself. Musk last week said the car, first shown in 2017, "should ship" starting in 2023. And that's only "assuming 2022 is not mega drama," he tweeted.
Mega drama, of course, is an apt description of Musk's history with deadlines. He even used to miss the bus as a kid, so his brother, Kimbal, would lie to get Elon outside on time, according to a 2018 story in The Washington Post.
"I think I do have, like, an issue with time," Musk said at Tesla's 2018 annual shareholders meeting. "I'm a naturally optimistic person. I wouldn't have done cars or rockets if I wasn't. I'm trying to recalibrate as much as possible."
Still, six years from the Roadster's unveiling to production is a long wait, even by the standards of "Elon time." The latest delay is more bad news for those who put down $50,000 deposits right after the car was announced — or paid the entire $250,000 cost upfront for the limited-run Founders Series. Tesla hasn't said how many people reserved a Roadster, which Musk initially said would go on sale in 2020.
The Roadster isn't the only product Musk introduced Nov. 16, 2017, that has yet to become reality. That same event also included the first public look at the Tesla Semi, which Musk in July said was being delayed to 2022 because of battery cell constraints.
The better alternative to putting down a deposit on the Roadster four years ago would have been using that money to buy Tesla stock, which is now worth more than 11 times its value on the day the car was unveiled. At that rate, it would be enough to buy a whole fleet of Roadsters when the car finally arrives.