Tesla Wins Federal Air Bag Waiver

2006 federal law would require airbag system that adapts to size of the passenger, which other small manufacturers have also had trouble meeting. The production Tesla will be equipped with conventional airbags.

Published: 29-Jan-2008

WASHINGTON — Tesla Motors won a waiver for its all-electric Roadster today from federal regulators, who found that the California electric vehicle company could be forced out of business if it had to meet an air bag standard.

Tesla has said it plans to produce 650 Roadsters this year, powered by 6,831 lithium-ion batteries that are expected to carry the vehicle 220 miles on a charge. The company has used the two-seat Lotus Elise sports car as the basis for its $98,000 Roadster, but with substantial changes for batteries, electric motors and safety.

Lotus and other small carmakers have struggled to meet a 2006 federal rule requiring air bags that vary their deployment based on a passenger’s size. The Elise was granted an exemption from the rule in August 2006, after Tesla had decided to build the Roadster off the Elise. While Lotus will assemble the Roadster in England, Tesla had to seek its own waiver for the Roadster or be barred from selling it in the United States.


The scooters top out at a 25mph speed, although the ones on loan to the Sheriff's Department are calibrated to travel no faster than 18mph.

Powered by advanced lithium-ion batteries and two 67bhp (50kW) electric motors to drive the front and rear axles, the Mixim is a four-wheel-drive car with a theoretical top speed of 112mph and a potential maximum range of 156 miles.

Dodge ZEO is 2+2 electric muscle car for the 21st century powered by 200kW electric drive with 0-60 mph in less than 6 seconds and range of 250 miles.


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