The good news: the Tesla Roadster will not have to comply with advanced air bag standards for another three years. The bad news: the first production car missed its flight to the U.S. from Amsterdam!
Good and bad news coming out for the Tesla camp in San Carlos, California. The company, which has a highly anticipated all-electric sports car coming to the market this year, was granted a waiver by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on a key airbag issue that could have stalled production, and possibly bankrupted the company.
According to the Associated Press, the NHTSA decided yesterday that the automaker had gone to great lenths to comply with a mandate forcing car companies to install advanced airbags on all new models. The stepped-up safety measure uses airbags that release with an adjusted amount of force, depending on the impact of each individual crash. This news comes on the heels of the Tesla Roadster's passing grade in U.S crash testing.
Citing the company's desire to also bring a fully electric sedan to market by 2010, and Tesla's $43 million operating losses from 2003-2006, the NHTSA granted a three-year exemption on the advanced air bag rule to Tesla. The $98,000 Tesla Roadster will still have standard airbags.
Of course, this would all be fair and good if the first production Tesla had made it to San Carlos in the first place. Greentech Media is reporting that the first real Tesla Roadster was trucked to Amsterdam presumably from the Hethel Engineering Centre in Norfolk, England. The car was supposed to be loaded on a plane, with arrival at company headquarters happening sometime today.
Sadly, the car missed its flight at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, and should now reach San Carlos sometime later this week.
Despite reports of transmission problems with the Roadster, the first edition of the car should begin building on March 17. The Series One Hundred edition of the Tesla Roadster sold out thanks to pre-orders taken in 2006 pre-order. The company plans on building a total of 625 Roadsters in 2008, and 800 each year through 2010.