Amongst the announcements that Tesla
made last week about the getting all the necessary regulatory approvals
to begin selling the Roadster in the U.S. was one about a waiver on an airbag
rule. This does not mean that the Roadster doesn't have airbags. In fact, it has inflatable pillows for both the driver and passenger. What the Roadster (and the Lotus Elise
from which it was derived) lacks are new two-stage airbags. The latest generation of airbags include sensors in the front seats that adjust the inflation rate of the bags based on passenger weight and position. Since the safety systems for the Roadster are carried over from the Elise
on this first-generation model, Tesla requested the waiver. Tesla is already planning a revamped interior for the car in the next few years and the passive restraints will likely be part of the update. The first item on the agenda, however, is to generate some cash flow by actually delivering cars to customers.