Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Transportation Law - 3 Wheelers

Elio is working to get its 3-wheel commuter classified as an auto-cycle by the feds. This would allow it to retain the advantages of being a motorcycle such as lower insurance rates, lighter weight, use of HOV lanes, etc, while dropping the requirements for the operators to wear eye protection and a helmet while driving it.

AFAIK the Elio is legally a motorcycle in all states. The problem is trying to market a car-like vehicle in which the operator would be required to wear eye protection in all states, and a helmet in most of them. Looking for an out by calling it a cycle-car or autocycle would make for better sales at the risk of having the rule-making nannies in Washington decide that  the vehicle must meet ALL the requirements, including emissions and safety that a car must. This will add about 1200 lb to the weight of the vehicle and make the engine notably more expensive.

The attempt is a risky move on Elio's part. An adverse ruling would effectively kill the company and the government is not really concerned about either safety or fuel economy but rather self preservation.

No comments: