Update: Texas DMV on Elio's Trike Status
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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
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