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Tesla still driving to ditch side mirrors

For Elon Musk, the founder and CEO of Telsa Motors, no idea appears too small or too big.

A bit of telling news about Tesla’s design and engineering mentality got lost in the blizzard of publicity Monday as Musk proposed to build a fanciful high-speed tube called the Hyperloop to carry people from Los Angeles to San Francisco.

The iconoclastic company continues to quietly push a smaller idea that could change the way people think about automotive transportation: doing away with side mirrors.

The original concept of the Model X, the crossover that Tesla plans to launch late next year, had cameras built into the doors and video displays inside the car.

It would work wonders to reduce wind resistance, Tesla said, but the automaker conceded that it didn’t meet government standards. By the time the Model X appeared at the Detroit auto show in January, mirrors had replaced the cameras.

But that is not the end of the story. Tesla design head Franz von Holzhausen recently told Alison van Diggelen, a Silicon Valley journalist, that the company is “still in talks with authorities to get the necessary permissions,” according to a report published Friday on van Diggelen’s Web site. That would be the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which oversees rearview mirrors under a regulation called Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 111.
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