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Cheers - AE

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

You couldn't make it up.

Via Watt's Up With That, one of the maddest things I have ever read:
A non polluting electric car company gets slammed with fine for “non compliance” for a car that can’t produce any emissions.
Yep, you read that right. Tesla, who are a fairly new and small company specialising in electric cars with all the risk that implies, have copped a fine of US$275,000 for non-compliance. Now, this seems so eye-swivellingly deranged that I thought perhaps there'd been some kind of mistake. Perhaps, I thought, this related to emissions in production or maybe the batteries vent something over time.

... Tesla failed to obtain a "Certificate of Conformity", mandated on all cars sold in the U.S by Clean Air Act of 1963 and its revisions.
In other words it's a car so it's simply assumed that it has a similar set of exhaust products to any other car, despite the fact that a child could explain why it doesn't. This means it's a $275,000 fine for failing to complete a box ticking exercise which. Given that the article WUWT linked to points out that
... in some parts of Kansas, shops must provide water troughs for horses [although] Kansan storekeepers have long been excused from abiding by the obviously obsolete ordinance ...
it seems deranged not to apply the same logic to an electric car manufacturer and the demands of a Clean Air Act that clearly have no relevance. Eye-swivellingly deranged, in fact, especially since eco-driven fucknuts governments the world over like to talk about zero emission vehicles as part of the solution to the sky not doing what it's told and, as DailyTech mention, Tesla is a small company with some big financial challenges.
For Tesla, whose stock pricing has been battered and is struggling to finish its upcoming 2012 Model S mass market EV on time, the revelation is a bit embarrassing. However, several reports on the topic from various news organizations fail to note that the government has given Tesla hundreds of times the sum of the fine in loans.

The government in January 2010 loaned Tesla a cool $465M USD to keep the company afloat while it develops its 2012 Model S EV. Tesla's battery maker A123 Systems has also been able to expand, flourish, and fill Tesla's Roadster orders thanks in part to a $249M Department of Energy grant.
That's not hundreds of times the sum of the fine, though there could of course be more help that wasn't mentioned, but I get the point. And as one of those horrible laissez-faire types, and despite liking the Roadster's looks and admiring Tesla's attempt to make a genuinely desirable* - aspirational, even - electric vehicle, I'd suggest that if Tesla need nearly three quarters of a billion tax dollars of government help then perhaps the market isn't ready for their product or vice versa. Still, having committed both to the cause of ZEVs and to financially helping a manufacturer why the fuck would you then hammer it with a fine for something so utterly pointless as failing to get a certificate to say its products comply with irrelevant legislation?

Big government giveth, and big government taketh away.

* I wouldn't say no even though I'm not at all convinced by the warble gloaming problem it was created (partly) to solve. 0-100km/h in 4 seconds and near silence sounds very appealing, though I'm far less excited by a 'refuelling' time orders of magnitude longer than the few minutes it takes to fill even a large tank. And in Australia its 380km range really restricts it to population centres, though it'd be an interesting challenge to plan a long distance drive across the country in ≤380km hops.


microdave said...

"and near silence"

I bet they end up fitting a noise generator like Toyota are having to do with the Pious. Can't have pedestrians getting run over because they didn't hear it coming....

"... in some parts of Kansas, shops must provide water troughs for horses"

I believe it's still a requirement for London Taxis to carry a bale of hay for the horse...

Angry Exile said...

Are Toyota having to do that? I'd heard some whining that they ought to be made to but I didn't know if anywhere was making them do it. To be honest I've no idea how quiet they really are on battery power but I'd have thought road noise might be enough in some places.

I heard the hay bale in taxis law was quietly ditched a while back but I think it certainly had been in force, obsolete and ignored by everybody for a while before it was dropped.

microdave said...

Have a look here:

There's a link at the end of the article which takes you to Toyota's own site, where you can watch (and listen to) a hilarious video!

Some one needs to change this sound - the barking mad 6 litre V8 Holden VXR would be a good start!

I wasn't sure about the hay bale, but it certainly WAS a legal requirement...

Angry Exile said...

Hahahaha. They say it's been designed to not be annoying. Well, I suppose if the sound of an asthmatic and slightly camp Stuka dive bomber doesn't bother you then no, it's not at all annoying. I'd prefer your alternative but if I head it coming from a Pious I'd be tempted to drag the driver out and beat him to death with The Age's environmental supplement.

I'm sure you're right that the hay bale was a legal requirement once, and from what I heard it was still technically in force decades after it was irrelevant.

microdave said...

Actually, fuck the alternative (and the environment) and just get a VXR. It's a LONG time since I drove a Morris Minor, so I might have to get in some practice applying opposite lock coming out of corners...

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