Some states have laid out the red carpet for the three-wheeled electric vehicles from ZAP! by offering rebates and issuing executive orders while some states are trying to pull the rug out from under owners by invalidating their registrations. This is now the case in Maine where Xebra owner, Tom Joyal, has received a letter from the state government telling him his little electric Xebra doesn't conform to the state's motor vehicle code and that they are revoking his registration. A spokesperson for the Secretary of State says a number of vehicles, "have been brought to their attention" because people are trying to find ways of coping with higher gas prices. The owner disagrees with the states assessment and claims he is in compliance because it adheres to the definition of an autocycle.
So who is right? After meticulously combing the 251-page Maine Motor Vehicle Inspection Manual (PDF) we conclude that Mr. Joyal appears to be mostly within the boundaries of the law, though he may want to consider installing a roll bar if he wants to be sure to pass inspection. Although the law states that an autocycle is "...an enclosed motorcycle, originally manufactured as an autocycle. It is designed to have no more than three wheels in contact with the ground at any time," an inspector must reject the vehicle if it's does not have said roll bar. The office of the Secretary of State may take another look at the situation and has issued a statement saying, "We certainly want to take an opportunity to review the vehicle and the way that it is configured, see how that fits within the existing confines of state law and see what changes to make to either the vehicle or to the law to make it a viable alternative for people." We hope Mr. Joyal has a lot of patience and wish him good luck.