Update: Texas DMV on Elio's Trike Status

Ronnie Schreiber
by Ronnie Schreiber

The Texas DMV has refused to register the new Polaris Slingshot, saying that motorcycles must be ridden from in a saddle, not driven from on a seat. The Slingshot and proposed Elio trike are both being marketed as motorcycles, as three-wheelers do not have to meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards for automobiles. Elio has told TTAC that they’re exempt from the Texas standard because their vehicle has an enclosed cab. We asked them if they’ve had discussions with the Texas DMV about their status. Elio’s vice president for governmental affairs, Joel Sheltrown, told me in an email,

Yes.. I confirmed this with TX DMV. Also the helmet and m[otorcycle] license exemption. We qualify in every instance to be registered in TX ..as a motorcycle. We will easily meet their requirements.

Below is a statement Sheltrown forwarded to us that Elio Motors received from Gus Bernal, who is in charge of Title Services Policy and Procedure at the Vehicle Titles and Registration Division of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. Note, Bernal’s reference to NHTSA certification of meeting FMVSS regulations has to do with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s rules for motorcycles, not those applicable to automobiles.

As promised, below is my follow up e-mail regarding our conversation from yesterday.

I’m responding on behalf of Clint Thompson. The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV), Vehicle Titles and Registration Division (VTR) administers the title and registration laws for the State of Texas therefore, we can only respond to the questions that pertain to VTR. The questions as stated below pertain to two different State Agencies, the TxDMV (for title and registration) and the Texas Department of Public Safety (for driver license and vehicle safety inspection).

The TxDMV may title and register an Elio vehicle as a “Motorcycle”, if the proper application, fees, and required ownership document (e.g. Manufacturer Certificate of Origin) are submitted to the department. Note: The vehicle must meets FMVSS safety standards (NHTSA certification).

Transportation Code, Sec. 521.001. (6-a), “Motorcycle” includes an enclosed three-wheeled passenger vehicle that:

(A) is designed to operate with three wheels in contact with the ground;

(B) has a minimum unladen weight of 900 lbs.;

(C) has a single, completely enclosed, occupant compartment;

(D) at a minimum, is equipped with:

(i) seats that are certified by the vehicle manufacturer to meet the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 207, 49 C.F.R. Section 571.207;

(ii) a steering wheel used to maneuver the vehicle;

(iii) a propulsion unit located in front of or behind the enclosed occupant compartment;

(iv) a seat belt for each vehicle occupant certified by the manufacturer to meet the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 209, 49 C.F.R. Section 571.209;

(v) a windshield and one or more windshield wipers certified by the manufacturer to meet the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 205, 49 C.F.R. Section 571.205, and Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 104, 49 C.F.R. Section 571.104; and

(vi) a vehicle structure certified by the vehicle manufacturer to meet the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 216, 49 C.F.R. Section 571.216; and

(E) is produced by its manufacturer in a minimum quantity of 300 in any calendar year.

In regards to your questions about helmets, driver license endorsements, vehicle safety, road tests, and driving reciprocity, you will need to contact the Texas Department of Public Safety. You may contact Cindy Flores via e-mail at cindy.flores@dps.texas.gov for more information.

Lastly, for information about Texas Manufacturer’s or Dealer’s License, please contact the TxDMV’s Motor Vehicle Division at 1 (888) 368-4689.

Thank you,

Gus Bernal || Title Services Policy and Procedure


Vehicle Titles and Registration Division

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

Ronnie Schreiber
Ronnie Schreiber

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, the original 3D car site.

More by Ronnie Schreiber

Comments
Join the conversation
2 of 21 comments
  • Stuki Stuki on Nov 16, 2014

    If 3 wheelers see any kind of popularity in urban settings, at the very minimum the much more laxed emissions regs for bikes versus cars will be repealed. Which will be a bit of a tragedy for motorcycles, actually. Sane people would simply say that all vehicles under 40 inches/1 meter wide and 1100 lbs / 500 kg are single trackers and inherently "different" (they don't take up lane nor parking space and HEAVILY bias accident damage risk towards the operator.) I mean, is a motorized bicycle with training wheels a car now? Of course, sane people have also long since realized governments are always and forever anything but.

  • Tinn-Can Tinn-Can on Nov 17, 2014

    Cool, make the get motorcycle endorsement... That should be funny to watch...

  • Redapple2 Do Hybrids and be done with it.
  • Redapple2 Panamera = road porn.
  • Akear What an absurd strategy. They are basically giving up after all these years. When a company drinks the EV hemlock failure is just around the corner.
  • Graham The answer to a question that shouldn't have been asked LOL
  • Bill Wade I live in AZ. I don't think you'd find very many LEOs that would pay the slightest attention to kids on e-bikes.
Next