It's Official: Three-Wheelers Are Cars Too. For Subsidy Purposes.
Congress has passed legislation qualifying three-wheeled vehicles for federal subsidies by classifying them as advanced technology vehicles. According to Automotive News [sub], the legislation has passed the House and Senate and should be signed by President Obama by week’s end. The classification is crucial for firms like Aptera to secure the federal Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Incentive Program funds that have been critical for firms like Tesla, GM and Ford. Aptera has asked for $75m, but efforts to include the three-wheelers like Aptera’s 2e have been criticized by GM, which is waiting on $10b in Department of ATVM funding. So, on the one-hand you have self-interested, tax money-bloated firms like GM who want the money for themselves, and cottage industry EV freaks who call their three-wheeled designs “innovative.” But not only are three wheeled designs far from unique (they tend to show up in every major recession), they also aren’t cars. If the Feds are going to give money to to the makers of three-wheelers, which have to be licensed as motorcycles, they should have to allow electric motorcycle firms like Brammo and Zero to apply as well. After all, a $10k motorcycle isn’t any less ridiculous than a $45k Volt or a $40k Aptera.