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Aptera Isn't a Car, Say Feds

Ruling that a 'car' must have four wheels prevents Aptera from applying for federal loan guarantees.

Published: 15-Sep-2009

WASHINGTON -- Is a three-wheeled vehicle an automobile? That question is at the center of a vigorous lobbying effort in Washington.

The vehicle in question is the Aptera 2e, a machine that looks like a cross between a Cessna plane and a tricycle. It's the brainchild of Aptera Motors Inc., a three-year-old, closely held car company in Vista, Calif.

Aptera wants to borrow $75 million from a Department of Energy program created by Congress in 2007 to speed development of fuel-efficient cars.

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