Tesla Motors' Roadster has
been in development for quite some time now, but it appears that there is
finally light at the end of the tunnel for the project team.
Malcolm Powell, Tesla Motors' Vice President of Vehicle
Integration, announced yesterday that The Tesla Roadster has passed all Federal Motor Vehicle
Safety Standards (FMVSS) and is legal for sale in all 50 states.
"Thanks to great design, structural analysis, build
quality and well run test management, we have successfully completed the entire
suite of dynamic impact testing to meet both FMVSS and, as importantly, our own
very strenuous internal performance targets," said Powell. "This is a
great achievement for Tesla; it takes us another (major) step closer to our
final goal and is another demonstration that EVs are as real as any other
vehicle on the road."
The Tesla Roadster performed admirably in front, rear and
side crash tests. "I always find it interesting when people say, 'Isn't it
dangerous carrying all those batteries around?' Well I don’t know about you,
but I’d rather carry a load of relatively inert battery cells than 10 gallons
of highly volatile, flammable liquid," added Powell. "I will not comment on
how other companies design their vehicles but at Tesla, we have paid great
attention to the integrity of the design for crash management."
In addition, the vehicle passed basic rear view mirror,
lighting and windshield defogging/defrosting tests.
Production of the $100,000 roadster will begin on March 17
although the first models to roll off the assembly line will come equipped with
Tesla claims that the temporary transmissions are of a
design that has been road tested more than 100,000 miles, so owners shouldn't
be too concerned about reliability or safety. Performance, however, does take a
nose dive -- the first production models will only accelerate 0-60 in 5.7
seconds instead of 4 seconds as previously promised.
The temporary transmissions will be replaced with
production-level hardware at Tesla Motors’ expense when it is available.
The Tesla Roadster is loosely based on the
aluminum-intensive Lotus Elise and features an electric motor powered by 6,381
lithium-ion cells. The projected range for the two-seater is just
over 200 miles.