Culture

Tesla is being shady about reporting emissions from material in its cars’ coating

The Technoking's domain might be ignoring environmental regulations. Again.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks during the unveiling of the new Tesla Model Y in Hawthorne, California on March 14, 2019. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP)        (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)
FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

Tesla released its quarterly earnings report earlier today, and it contains a small bit of extra news that might be of interest to anyone who happens to live and breathe upon this rapidly warming Earth: The EPA recently accused the electric vehicle company of failing to provide the necessary proof it isn’t coating the exterior surfaces of its cars with toxic air pollutants. According to Business Insider, Tesla allegedly “refutes the allegations, is responding to the EPA’s information requests and doesn’t expect the matter materially affect its business.”

Oh, and San Francisco’s Bay Area Air Quality Management District also issued multiple notices related to concerns about Tesla cars’ various air pollutant violations. Missives from the Technoking’s Domain apparently deny all these concerns, too.

Just another normal, not-at-all-worrisome day cowering within the smog-filled shadows of our Silicon Valley oligarchs.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Sketchy safety standards, both inside and out — It’s not just a Tesla’s exterior paint job that potentially poses a threat to unsuspecting bystanders; its inner workings are increasingly a problem, too. In recent months, the popular line of EVs has shown a propensity to plow into other cars and objects while supposedly operating in its “Autopilot” mode (which Elon still swears by, of course). One would think the fact that these crashes have proven deadly a number of times already should be enough to warrant a pause in the program for detailed investigations, but hey, we’re not the safety experts here. At the very least, perhaps Tesla could address the little Autopilot loophole allowing people to fool the car into thinking someone is sitting in the driver’s seat.

Luxury eco-consumerism — While it’s tempting to view Tesla as an eco-conscious company dedicated to weening humanity off of fossil fuels, it’s probably more accurate to describe it as a car company that read the crude oil-covered tea leaves and invested in the inevitable future of personal transportation. Tesla EVs have never been affordable for the average consumer, and Musk’s many other ventures only reinforce his brand of luxury eco-consumerism. Take, for instance, his company’s solar panels and Powerwall battery pack products, which now require one another to work properly... thereby costing you between $9600 and $15,600 in the process. Even as electric vehicles and alternative energy options become cheaper, it’s hard to imagine an “economy” Tesla on the market anytime soon. And then there’s that whole “space tourism” thing.

Anyway. The EPA is worried Tesla’s car paint may actually be somewhat toxic, and Elon doesn’t give a shit about it. Do with that as you will.