Recently, I wrote about a small, public fight between Aptera and Tesla over safety. It was just a few remarks and there are just a handful of electric car companies. Could they actually be fighting each other behind the scenes? Yes, and the fights have apparently gotten really serious. According to filings at regulations.gov, Tesla filed for an exemption on "advanced air bag provisions" in March of this year because it qualified for an "economic hardship exemption." Also, Tesla claimed, because the Roadster was basically an electric version of the Lotus Elise, Tesla wanted to use the standard air bags (and other safety systems) from the gas-powered cousin (read Tesla entire argument in this PDF). Kevin Kiley, Miles Automotive's President and COO then wrote to U.S. DOT/NHTSA a letter that reads in part;
We applaud petitioner's efforts to provide significant environmental benefits and energy savings and their intent to "change the way the world sees electric-powered cars", but we believe strongly that success in this area must be predicated on careful attention to safety. ... Our concern in this matter relates directly to perceived and actual safety of electric vehicles and the potential effects on the acceptance of all electric vehicles including ours if important safety standards are not strictly adhered to.

The files at regulation.gov are dated between August 31 and September 17. Martin Eberhard, Tesla's CEO, stepped down around Aug. 12. The first file from Miles Automotive is August 30; talk about salt in the wound. I am not going to take sides on whether Tesla should get an exemption or if Miles should have intervened. There is a good discussion on this topic over at the Tesla Motor Club (guess which side most of those folks are on?). I just have one request: PLEASE, Telsa and Miles, give each other a call, have lunch, talk to each other. SOMETHING!

Seriously, a normal, electric car that the average guy can afford does not exist yet and you will have enough trouble getting one to market. Not to mention what the big car makers are going to do to BOTH of you when they start to see you as a threat. I will bet they will do more than write a letter and make a few sly remarks at a show. Guys, form a club. You have more in common than you think. Learn from each other. Help each other. This in-fighting will only hurt both of you.

The image of Kevin was taken from a video of Miles staff on YouTube. You can watch them below the fold.

[Source: Comment by ABG-reader Kardax via post to Tesla Motor Club]


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