Although often more fuel-efficient than their four-wheeled counterparts, three-wheeled vehicles are ineligible for Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Incentive Program grants from the U.S. Department of Energy, unless a new piece of legislation passes the Senate.
If passed, the legislation would allow manufacturers of green trikes -- Aptera, for example -- to be eligible for DOE funding. Thus far, the legislation passed a committee and was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives, and only needs approval from the Senate before it's sent to the president to be signed into law.
"Obsolete bureaucratic definitions should not create roadblocks and stifle innovation," said California Representative Adam Schiff.
Still, it's not the first time three-wheeled eco-cars have faced odd legal challenges. While some states allow the vehicles to be classified and registered as motorcycles, some have insisted they be certified as full automobiles, which would then mandate a full series of crash testing.
GM, which hopes to win a similar grant from the DOE in order to advance development of the Chevrolet Volt, voiced its opinion that these loans should be reserved for companies that can produce large volumes of green automobiles, which would theoretically create a larger impact on the environment. GM has applied for nearly $10 million in funding from the department.
Source: Automotive News