Monday, March 30, 2009

You want to drive a WHAT in New York State?

At first, I was rather surprised when people say they have never dealt with a three wheel electric car. Three wheels, yes. Three wheels and electric? Nope. Now, I know why. Apparently, New York State's elected officials have collective amnesia about the gasoline prices last summer. Otherwise, they would change some laws so inexpensive electric vehicles and bicycles could more easily replace petrol cars.

The first sign of trouble was when I went to State Farm to have them provide liability insurance for the vehicle. Nope. They didn't want anything to do with it. I can see that. The actuarial work would be a bit much to ask for someone just walking in the door. No problem. The State Farm agent recommended an independent agent. After several calls, my new agent finally found an underwriter who would be willing to insure the BugE for $282 a year (or $141 for the 6 month riding season) . Needless to say, that was rather high. However, I figured that the BugE is a new vehicle with a small risk pool so the insurance company rightfully is a bit cautious. So, I thought, at least I found an insurer.

Next stop was the DMV. Now, I'm sure you will all be surprised at this - but this is where my day got really bad. Originally, I thought I would just fill out two forms, pay some taxes, then go through a rather easy inspection. Ah, but this is New York State!

The guy at the DMV window didn't know how to deal with a kit car. So he asked his supervisor. After some discussion, the supervisor then handed me a guide to registering a "home made" or "unique" vehicle. Grrr. I thought by having a production kit, I had avoided this. Apparently not. The kit didn't have a VIN number and that was the problem. The certificate of origin has only a chassis number and fairing number - but no VIN number. However, this is understandable. The VIN is issued by each state and not all states still do this. At least New York still does. However, New York does not make it easy. The extended inspection process is featured HERE.

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