• Aug 26, 2010
Sometimes, technology moves faster than rules and regulations. For instance, in some parts of Kansas, shops must provide water troughs for horses. A more recently inanity is the requirement that electric vehicles receive an emissions "Certificate of Conformity" from the EPA to comply with the "Clean Air Act." And, while Kansan storekeepers have long been excused from abiding by the obviously obsolete ordinance, such is not the case for America's best known electric car maker, Tesla Motors.

In its Securities and Exchange Commission 10-Q filing for the quarter ending on the 30th of June, Tesla noted that expenses may be incurred from complying (or, in this case, not complying) with the myriad regulations that govern the activity of providing automobiles for sale to the public. As an example of such, it mentions being found in contravention of the requirement to have the aforementioned certificate for the vast majority of 2009. It had the necessary document in 2008. As a result, it and the EPA:
...entered into an Administrative Settlement Agreement and Audit Policy Determination in which we agreed to pay a civil administrative penalty in the sum of $275,000...
Ouch. While it may seem as if Tesla shouldn't need such documentation since its products don't even have a tailpipe, the fact that the company had the proper certification in '08 means it should have known better in '09. Live and learn, eh?

[Source: Tesla Motors via EVTV]


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  • 18 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Cars are a tiny part of what the EPA handles, in reality they are your friend unless you enjoy things like acid rain and lead in rivers. I have a relative that is an EPA investigator, they are a smart, reasonable person - notably not on the man made climate change bandwagon. Most likely because as a professional investigator, wants to see evidence. But they also have made a living enforcing the law longer than I've been alive. Don't want something enforced? Get rid of the law.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Hey EPA... Your stupid is showing.

      Technically, isn't it illegal to drive any vehicle on public roadways if the gas tax is avoided? The tax on gasoline supposedly pays for the the roads, so driving any vehicle which does not consume a taxed fuel product is breaking the law. How do you get around that with a ZEV?
      • 4 Years Ago
      And here is the proof that the government is trying to kill the electric car
        • 4 Years Ago
        Actually its a testament to the government going overboard to kill the Car period.

        Tailpipe emmissions have gotten so good, that outgassing from plastics, paint, carpet dye, etc. constitute a major component of vehicle emissions.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Problem is, while the government is trying to kill the car (as we know it, at least), there's no real measures being set in place on a wide scale to provide an alternative with better public transportation, high-speed trains, etc.

        For example: I drive a Saturn VUE as my DD, thus it's not too inspiring of a vehicle. I only live about 9 miles from my workplace, and IF my community had the foresight to provide better biking lanes and infrastructure, I would gladly ride my Cannondale road bike to work every day I could instead of driving the Vue.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Yeah, Tesla was dumb for not paying attention to getting the certificate for 2009 as they did for 2008. But c'mon can't the EPA review the fine and give Tesla a break or an extension given that they only build electric cars? If we had an industrial policy to assist our dwindling manufacturers, then this fine would have been waived.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The fact is that anyone in a government regulatory position sees anyone in industry as "the enemy", and they are to be destroyed at all costs. Ten bucks says the dude who nailed these diabolical scufflaws was peomoted.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I thought the EPA was there to PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT
        • 4 Years Ago
        theres no money in protecting the environment...

        the EPA makes money from these fines, and the people that work there get bonus' when they "make companies comply" no matter what compliance means.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Well, the filed the paperwork in 2008 and then didn't in 2009. Should have been an easy form to file, right? Right?

      Besides, the alternative is requiring all automakers to file "unless they promise not to produce emissions, in which case the government will just trust them with on paper trail." No problems there...
      • 4 Years Ago
      Dumbest fine . . . ever.

      Bureaucracy at its finest.
        • 4 Years Ago
        While this certificate does seem rather dubious, I don't feel too bad for Tesla - they knew what they were doing. I'd wager that it was cheaper to pay this fine than it would have been to certify their vehicles under whatever laws.
        • 4 Years Ago
        This is just another example of government messing up business with over regulation and lack of commonsense. Total fail.
        • 4 Years Ago
        More like dumbest post ever. The law was put in place well before electric cars started gaining widespread interest and at a time when no electric cars were offered for sale. It applies to all cars that are sold in the US. Tesla is selling cars in the US, so therefore it applies to them. Just because it seemingly doesn't apply to Tesla, doesn't mean the EPA should pick and choose which manufacturers it should apply the laws to and which it shouldn't.
      • 4 Years Ago
      While the CoC does not seem to be an obsolete reg, basically stating that a vehicle conforms to the stds set to its communicated vehicle designation for on-road vehicles, the reference to the Kansas law does bring up an issue.

      When an ordinance is no longer relevant (or just stupid to begin with), instead of just refusing enforcement of it, said ordinance needs removed as a law. The 'horse watering' law needs removed, as well as thousands of other stupid laws.

      Such as in Iowa, where "Kisses may last for no more than five minutes.", or "A man with a mustache may never kiss a woman in public.". Or TX law "Up to a felony charge can be levied for promoting the use of, or owning more than six dildos."
        • 4 Years Ago
        Absolutely true. All these congressmen and senators sit around making these stupid laws of today, never thinking about the past or future effect. Get re-elected at any cost, usually millions for a job that pays 175k. Oh...about those six dildos..I happen to know at least three or more people who ARE dildos. What about the law and them?
        • 4 Years Ago


        The problem is that you can just imagine the attack adds that would be run on the politician who proposed legally using and promoting more than 6 dildos.
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