Last night, in addition to unveiling the electric semi-truck, Elon Musk’s Tesla announced a brand new Roadster. There’s a problem with it, though. A problem that means its current form the new Roadster isn’t actually legal in the UK. Why? Because it doesn’t have wing mirrors.
Ha ha — the new Tesla Roadster doesn’t have wing mirrors! @elonmusk has wanted to get rid of them for ages and replace them with rear-facing cameras. But I think they are still a legal requirement in most of the world… pic.twitter.com/qcW3tEw13M
— Tom Standage (@tomstandage) November 17, 2017
So Elon doesn’t like wing mirrors, which might be fine in the US where they must be very lax about this sort of thing, but that sort of design won’t fly here. The government says cars need to have wing mirrors, and rear-facing cameras just won’t cut it.
The requirements laid out here and here, state that any car made after 2010 needs at least three mirrors. Two external mirrors (one on the near and far sides of the car, aka left and right) and one on the inside (typically the rear-view mirror). That means the new Roadster would have to be redesigned if Elon wants to sell it in the UK.
You might think that this doesn’t matter so much, since UK cars need to be redesigned for righthand driving. Well those rules are apparently EU regulations, so it seems as though the new Roadster wouldn’t be legal anywhere within the European Union either. And seeing as EU laws are being grandfathered into UK law ready for Brexit (or, at least that’s the current plan), leaving the Union won’t change anything. Those laws could be changed by the respective parliaments, but that would probably involve lots of inquiries and investigations into whether or not cameras are a suitable replacement. That shit takes time.
So sorry Elon, you might not like wing mirrors but regulators are still big fans.