JACKSON — A company that plans to make a three-wheeled vehicle is seeking a change in Mississippi’s helmet law.
Elio Motors wants Mississippi to specify that a helmet won’t be required in its “autocycle,” an enclosed motorcycle with two wheels in front and one in back.
The company plans to start production in 2015 at the former General Motors plant in Shreveport, La.
Joel Sheltrown, the company’s vice president of government relations, spoke to a small group of Mississippi lawmakers Wednesday. He’s asking them to specify that no helmet would be required of the driver or passenger of an autocycle. The vehicle will have seat belts, a roll cage, roll bar and automobile controls.
“Many of our customers say, ‘I won’t drive this if you’re going to make me wear a helmet,'” Sheltrown said.
Mississippi is one of five states where a helmet would currently be required, he said. The others are Missouri, North Carolina, Nebraska and West Virginia.
Louisiana changed its helmet law last year at Elio Motors’ request.
The vehicle will be 13 feet, 6 inches long, Sheltrown said. At its widest point, in the front, it will be 5 feet wide. It would have a driver’s seat and one passenger seat in the rear.
The vehicle would sell about $6,800 and is projected to go nearly 84 miles per gallon of gas on the highway or 49 miles per gallon in city driving.
“It’s an extreme value for people,” Sheltrown said.
Elio Motors is renting about 1.5 million square feet of the 4.1 million-square-foot former General Motors Shreveport Assembly and Stamping Plant. The company has said it plans to hire workers for the plant during the final months of 2014.