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What is the high-voltage surprise Tesla will unveil on September 5?

Since its inception, Tesla has mostly ignored the international auto shows the rest of the industry participates in annually. It chooses to make major product announcements at standalone, Apple-style events held at or near its headquarters in California. It’s making a rare exception on September 5 when it travels to Basel, Switzerland, to unveil a surprise.

Tesla reserved floor space at an exhibition called Grand Basel that, according to the organizers, “showcases a limited number of carefully-selected, top-of-the-range automobiles.” The list of rare, high-end cars that will hog the spotlight during the multi-day event includes a 1968 Lamborghini Miura, a 1947 Cisitalia 202 SC, a 1961 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato, and a 1956 Porsche 550 1500 RS Spyder.

Where does Tesla fit in this roster of timeless sheet metal? The firm hasn’t been around long enough to display classic cars. Company CEO and co-founder Elon Musk wasn’t even born when the aforementioned cars were produced. Tesla isn’t going retro, but it may reveal the production version of the hotly-anticipated second-generation Roadster it announced in late 2017.

Though details remain murky, Tesla invited its most loyal fans and customers to participate in a raffle for the chance to win a pair of VIP tickets to the show. The company sent out an invitation accompanied by a close-up of a car. It shows a curved metal panel (presumably a car body) painted in a deep shade of red and a dark-tinted window. That’s not a lot to go on, but the high-zoot nature of the event suggests we’re looking at a sports car, and — as far as we know — Tesla is only working on one at the moment. We can’t imagine the firm unveiling a truck like the Semi or a crossover like the Model Y at an event like Grand Basel.

If that’s an accurate assessment, we already have a decent idea of what to expect when the sheet comes off. The Roadster concept unveiled last year shed valuable insight into the production model. It boasts a huge, 200-kWh lithium-ion battery pack and it performs the benchmark 0-to-60-mph sprint in 1.9 seconds, a figure that — if verified — makes it the quickest series-produced car on the planet. Driving range checks in at 620 miles.

Stay tuned. Whether it’s a Roadster or a crossover, we’ll bring you full details about Tesla’s surprise as soon as the sheet comes off on September 5.

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