Congress Approves DOE Funding for Three-Wheelers

By Brendan Moore


A bill that allows three-wheel vehicle manufacturers to be eligible for much-coveted federal DOE (Department of Energy) funding has passed Congress, and is expected to be signed into law by President Obama as early as today.

Current DOE rules limit funding eligibility to companies that make four-wheeled vehicles that also meet other emissions and fuel economy standards.

The new rules open up funding eligibility to include vehicles manufactured with three wheels than can carry at least two people, attain a minimum of 75 mpg and be fully enclosed. Each application for funds from a three-wheeler manufacturer will be assessed by DOE individually.

2011 ApteraCompanies like Elio Motors and Aptera, who plan to start manufacturing gasoline-powered and battery-powered three-wheelers, respectively, in the near future, were cheering the news, as their applications for DOE funding were rejected previously. Both companies said that they would re-apply for DOE funding as soon as possible.

For those people that complain that everything on the road looks the same these days, the rebuttal to your complaint is a three-wheeler. All of the three-wheel vehicles in the pre-production pipe look like nothing else on the road today. In fact, if you crave attention, buying one of the first three-wheel vehicles manufactured is guaranteed to garner many second looks by other motorists and pedestrians, as the vehicles look futuristic and dramatically different from any mass-produced four-wheel vehicle on the road today.

COPYRIGHT Autosavant – All Rights Reserved

Author: Brendan Moore

Brendan Moore is a Principal Consultant with Cedar Point Consulting , a management consulting practice based in the Washington, DC area. He also manages Autosavant Consulting, a separate practice within Cedar Point Consulting. where he advises businesses connected to the auto industry. Cedar Point Consulting can be found at

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  1. The Aptera pictured has a 100 mile range on it’s battery pack, according to the company.

    All I can say is that it better not cost much.

  2. And what about the crash tests for these things? Are they classified (still) as motorcycles and therefore exempt from crash testing requirements?

  3. Yep, there will be carnage on the highways when one of these things gets punted by an S.U.V.

  4. So is my understanding correct that to drive one of these you need a motorcycle lscense in most (if not all) states?

    If so that could realy limit the apeal.

  5. I would rather have a diesal ford focus

  6. Buck Rogers would be proud.

  7. Certainly hope this kind of car isn’t in my future.

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