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NHTSA Jurisdiction

NHTSA Jurisdiction

Exactly what Jurisdiction, what investigative authority, what highway or any standards of any type, does the National Highway Traffic Association of the United States have over Mexico? The NHTSA, and its gasoline-car-brand pressures, seem highly technical and microscope nit-picky about even using that driver's high-speed crash, caused by his own driving style, in Mexico, to calculate its ridiculous statistics. Let's see, that driver went through a concrete wall, and then crashed into a tree, in Mexico. The NHTSA is using that driver's questionable driving to calculate any statistics? Really... OK, did they conduct an investigation in the scene in Mexico? Do they have any control or records as to the building materials, standards, speed limits or anything else that could have been involved in the crash?
From here, quite clearly, it seems that they are just playing blind word-association games, no matter where they come from, and using them to assign extremely liberal use of their authority to target Tesla! Are they "obeying" other car brands' requests to submit Tesla to uncalled for pressure and limit the rate of their growth and the momentum of their value? Well, unless they are willing to go to Rwanda or Siberia to investigate every single ridiculous incident that has involved a Ford, a GM, a Chrysler, or any other domestic (or foreign brand) and asses risk to their specs, and start retroactive investigations into those brands, they better back off. This is blatant abuse of power. Tesla achieved the highest safety rating possible, period. How is it that they seem selectively incompetent now? This is shameful and cannot be tolerated.

PorfirioR | 22. november 2013

In my opinion, the NHTSA needs to thread very, very carefully. They are actually in a very tough spot.

The NHTSA's conclusions on their Tesla investigation can have ramifications for all automobiles. Some of those other auto manufacturers have deeper pockets and longer history than Tesla, therefore they would be a good target for class action lawsuits.

Many EVs have floor-mounted batteries. Some EVs with range-extenders have a combination of floor-mounted battery near a gas tank (yikes!). Therefore, a conclusion that floor-mounted batteries are an unsafe design would have huge implications for all EV manufacturers.

If the NHTSA leaves the battery out of their conclusion and simply states that low-riding vehicles are less safe in the highways, it could open the biggest proverbial can of worms since the Tremors Collection was released in DVD.

If I had to venture a guess, I would say that the worse the NHTSA can do is the same thing they did with airbags (http://www.nhtsa.gov/cars/rules/rulings/labels5.mlv.html), ask manufacturers to put a warning sticker so people understand the risk. The warning can be under the driver's visor and be allowed to be removable. Something like "Warning: driving with lower ground clearance increases the risk of collision with road debris". Heck, if I were Tesla I would be mailing an addendum to the owner's manual already.

GeekEV | 22. november 2013

@PorfirioR - Bingo! Done, problem solved. Can we have them add a big DUH to that warning?

Timo | 22. november 2013

Many EVs have floor-mounted batteries. Some EVs with range-extenders have a combination of floor-mounted battery near a gas tank (yikes!). Therefore, a conclusion that floor-mounted batteries are an unsafe design would have huge implications for all EV manufacturers.

The should actually make an statement that floor-mounted battery protects the passengers in case of impact from below.

If there is a fire, it is slow burning and doesn't harm passengers. If the impact was so severe that it actually enters passenger compartment and allows fire to enter there, it would have mashed right thru gas car bottom probably injuring and possibly killing the passenger(s) inside immediately on impact.

This is an non-issue, and NHTSA should make an announcement saying just that.

Brian H | 22. november 2013

Timo;
takes far less to enter an ICE passenger compartment. Almost anything will do.

Jolinar | 24. november 2013

@PorfirioR
really interesting thinking... I am less concerned now :-)