Why would MA stop you from registering an electric car?

electrical-wiring

#1

Recently, there was a news story about a man that tried to register Xebra Electric Truck and the RMV refused to issue a plate. Could someone explain why?



For instance, I don’t think that you can get a non-comercial plate for a deisal car. I would presume this is because of air pollution. Actually, it would be helpful if someone could verify/explain that too.


#2

Why would MA stop you from registering an electric car?

Bureaucrats are VERY timid when dealing with the unknown. Some “authority” will first have to certify the vehicle as being roadworthy and meeting all state and federal safety standards. Then there is the matter of paying some sort of road tax electric vehicles avoid by not using gasoline…


#3

You did not provide a link to the news article, but I found a picture of the truck. It’s 3 wheeled, which in most states means it’s classed as a motorcycle (and a good thing too, because it would never pass crash testing for a regular car). There is a fellow in my home town that has one and is constantly fighting with the local cops about wearing a helmet. It’s a motorcycle and motorcycle riders and passengers are required to wear helmets. I’d be willing to bet MA would allow it to be registered as a motorcycle.


#4

Actually I think he did try to register it as a motorcycle. I can’t find the link.


#5

Many state laws have not caught up with current technologies. I read just a year or two ago about one man who converted a diesel to run on waste McDonald’s grease and was producing his own fuel. The state he was in charged him with being a fuel producer for over the road vehicles without the proper permits, which, of course, were expensive. At the time I read the article the issue was in court. I don’t now the results.

Emissions regulations being what they are, I wonder about the new Tesla electic cars. In most counties of NH, and OBD-II download to the state’s main computers is required to pass inspection. Specific categories of vehicle are exempt. Since the Tesla, being 100% electric, won’t be able to provide this data, and the laws probably don’t provide an exemption for electric vehicles since there currently are none, I wonder if it would be inspectable.


#6

Here’s a wild guess, but understandable in today’s legalistic environment: Perhaps MA state law does not define a vehicle with an electric motor as a motor vehicle.


#7

Good guess. They may even prohibit electric vehicles from over the road use, perhaps to prevent anyone from trying to drive around in a golf cart.

I’m guessing, of course.


#8

I would guess it does not meet the safety requirements of a car. Like braking test, ability to maintain speed on the freeway, seat belts, etc.


#9

It almost certainly would be classed as a motorcycle. It has only 3 wheels. I’m pretty sure every state classes 3 wheels or fewer in contact with the ground as a motorcycle. Motorcycles don’t have to meet the same crash standards as cars.


#10

I think it’s because it can’t pass the state-mandated emissions testing. I remember a story a year or two ago in Georgia, I think it was, where a Prius was given a fail on the e-test because the gas engine never had to start for the test, therefore the emissions couldn’t be measured, therefore a fail. I think the test has been reworked to account for a hybrid drivetrain, but I bet an electric drivetrain would flummox the test equipment. And if a requirement for registration is a valid e-test, then I can see why the vehicle wasn’t able to be registered.

Stupid, sure, but that’s the government for you.


#11

They still have to meet other requirements. I suspect the electric does not. I am not against the idea of allowing them, but there are some possible issues and in this case we don’t know the reasons why, or maybe even if it is for real.


#12

“The state he was in charged him with being a fuel producer for over the road vehicles without the proper permits, which, of course, were expensive. At the time I read the article the issue was in court. I don’t now the results.”

The law is the law, whether we like it or not. Anyone who makes their own diesel from surplus oil or runs on fry oil must keep records and pay fuel taxes on whatever they use in their car. I’m not sure that I like that either, but the taxes are still owed.