We recently opined about the fact that the Department of Energy Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Incentive Program excludes vehicles not covered by Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. The subject specifically came up because Aptera is supporting a bill that would amend the rules of the program to allow alternative vehicles such as its three-wheeled 2e to be eligible for support from the low interest loan program.
The problem arises because three-wheelers are considered motorcycles and exempt from U.S. safety regulations that govern cars and trucks. The concern is that many consumers may not be aware that just because a vehicle has a fully enclosed body, it doesn't necessarily meet the safety standards that other modern vehicles do. Aptera spoke with Green Fuels Forecast about the safety elements built into its design and emphasizes that even though it is not legally required to do so (because it only has three wheels), the 2e is being crash tested and built to automotive safety standards. We'll let the Feds and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety decide whether Aptera has succeeded in its safety quest.
As for the loan program, perhaps it should be adjusted to allow vehicles that meet safety requirements to be eligible regardless of their number of wheels. Or perhaps it's time to revisit the safety rules altogether and have them apply to vehicles capable of higher speeds even if they have three wheels.