Farmington Correctional Center
1012 West Columbia
Farmington, MO 63640-2902
Dear Mr. Holmes:
This responds to your letter of December 6, 1994, to the Secretary of Transportation, regarding the laws that apply to the manufacture of cars and light trucks. You have a design which you describe as "hydrogen turbine over electric."
The principal law that the Department of Transportation administers that pertains to the construction of motor vehicles is Title 49 United States Code Chapter 301 - Motor Vehicle Safety. Under its authority, we have issued the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and other pertinent regulations. These are available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402 at an invoiced cost of around $25. The title of the volume you want is "49 CFR Parts 400-999"; all our regulations are in the 500 series. The Safety Standards are at Part 571. The applicability section of each standard informs the reader as to the types of vehicles to which it applies, such as passenger cars, motorcycles, etc. However, the standards don't differentiate between propulsion sources, and there are no standards that apply to "electric vehicles," or, in your case, "hydrogen turbine over electric."
You should be aware that the Environmental Protection Agency establishes standards for motor vehicle emissions, and that the individual States are permitted to have their own standards in areas where the Department of Transportation has not acted, such as horns and fog lamps.
If you have any further questions, they should be directed to this Office and we will be pleased to answer them.
Philip R. Recht Chief Counsel ref:571 d:1/11/95