HAWTHORNE, Calif. -- Tesla CEO Elon Musk Thursday night sprung a surprise on the world, using the launch of a new electric semi-truck to announce what he said will be the world's fastest production car, a new Tesla Roadster.
"I won't say what the actual speed is, but it's above 250 mph," Musk said. "The point of this is to give a hardcore smackdown to gasoline cars."
Musk showed off a prototype of the new vehicle, a convertible he said will go from zero to 60 mph in 1.9 seconds and from zero to 100 mph in 4.2 seconds, and cover a quarter mile in 8.9 seconds.
The battery pack will allow the three-motor, four-seat car to travel 620 miles on one charge, enough to drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles and back, Musk said. That will make the vehicle the first production electric car to cover that distance on a single charge, he said.
The Roadster, a new edition of the Palo Alto electric car maker's first vehicle, will be available in 2020, Musk said. He boasted of roomy luggage storage, but warned that "you can't put giant people in the rear seat."
Tesla had kept quiet about the Roadster, with Musk reappearing after announcing the new electric semi-truck.
Musk touted the sleek, slope-nosed semi -- guaranteed to go a million miles without breaking down -- as better than diesel in every way.
With the launch, Tesla goes after a market for traditional and mostly diesel-powered trucks estimated to be approaching $34 billion a year.
"From day one, having a Tesla semi will beat a diesel truck on economics," Musk said "It's got a better drag coefficient than a supercar."
If a driver has a medical emergency, the truck will automatically come to a gradual stop, and can call for help if the driver doesn't respond to a prompt, Musk said.