Bringing a new vehicle to market requires progress on many different fronts. In the past, we’ve shown our progress in engineering, supplier relations, and many more areas. As the Elio is a three-wheeled vehicle, the legislative front has demanded a good deal of attention. In today’s Momentum, we will review the progress we have made to date and the work that remains to be done.
A vehicle with three-wheels ignites an intriguing discussion. To be classified as a car by the federal government a vehicle must have at least four wheels. The Elio, having three wheels, will therefore not be classified as an automobile. Is it a motorcycle? Motorcycles typically have two wheels, are open-air vehicles, and, by design, offer virtually no safety features. An Elio has a steering wheel, airbags, and anti-lock brakes, as well as stability and traction control. From the beginning, our Governmental Affairs team has endeavored to ensure that Elio owners would be able to drive their Elio with a driver’s license and without a helmet.
At the outset, the majority of states would have required both a helmet and motorcycle endorsement to drive the Elio. Our Governmental Affairs team has become an authority on three-wheeled legislation. Through hard work and common-sense legislation, there are now only three states that require a motorcycle endorsement and one state that requires a helmet. Please find the maps below:
In Maine, the last remaining state, we have introduced legislation that would remove the existing helmet requirement. We have a sponsor for the cause and are confident that we will have a positive outcome this January.
As far as licensing, the three states that currently require an endorsement are Alaska, New York, and Maine. As we have had success in many states, we believe that the same common-sense logic will prevail in all three states and that Elio owners will have no issues driving their vehicles across the country.
We have heard from many supporters that are concerned that they will encounter issues in their states based on their interpretation of the current statutes. The language in some the statutes can be very confusing, especially when talking about three-wheeled vehicles like the Elio. Please know that our Governmental Affairs team are experts on these matters and have consulted everything available, from Supreme Court decisions to Commissioner rulings. We have enjoyed tremendous progress to date and expect that Elio owners will be able to drive in all fifty states with a standard driver’s license and without a helmet.