Congress has approved a measure that will allow makers of three-wheel cars to receive funding for fuel-efficient auto technologies, according to published reports.
The bill, which still needs to be signed into law, could be a boost to companies developing alternative car designs, notably Aptera Motors and Elio Motors. Both companies have argued that their three-wheel cars deserve federal funding meant to promote more efficient vehicles.
The legislation, passed late last week, would overturn an Energy Department rule that limited funding to four-wheel vehicles meeting emissions and fuel-economy benchmarks, Automotive News reported on Friday. The new guidelines will now allow vehicles that get an average of at least 75 miles per gallon and can carry at least two adults, according to the report.
Vista, Calif.-based Aptera plans in the middle of next year to start producing its 2e, a three-wheel electric vehicle that it says will be able to go at least 100 miles on its battery charge.
Elio, based in Tempe, Ariz., is developing a narrow, three-wheel gasoline car it says gets more than 70 miles per gallon. It intends to sell the vehicle for less than $7,500.
General Motors, which is applying for DOE funds to promote electric vehicle production, has opposed changes in the rules in the past, Automotive News said.