For some time now we have been discussing the status of vehicles like the Aptera 2e. While Aptera's tear drop-shaped creation promises to be highly efficient, there are concerns about the safety of vehicles like this and others, like the Zap Alias. The problem lies in federal rules that define anything with less than four wheels as a motorcycle and thus exempt for crash safety rules. Aptera at least has been adamant that its vehicle, while not required to meet impact standards is being designed to meet them anyway.
Aptera has applied for some of the funding available under the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program, but was denied because the 2e is not a "car" by federal rules. Some California members of Congress are now trying to change that with a bill that changes the qualification to any enclosed vehicle that seats at least two adults and gets at least 75 mpg. The legislation passed the House and is now awaiting Senate approval. Perhaps what they should do instead is change the rules about the definition of a car to require any full bodied vehicle to meet safety standards regardless of how many wheels it has. Thanks to Vince for the tip!
- For more on this topic, check out the Greenlings that asks: "Why do so many green cars have only three wheels?"