Wheego Electric Cars, Inc. Receipt of Petition for Temporary Exemption From the Electronic Stability Control Requirements of FMVSS No. 126, 4623-4625 [2012-1960]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 19 / Monday, January 30, 2012 / Notices contain pole side impact test procedures and corresponding side impact test dummies representing a 50th percentile adult male and a 5th percentile adult female. Australia has since proposed that the GTR be drafted with a 50th percentile adult male dummy requirement and a placeholder for 5th percentile adult female dummy in a first phase since it appears that the WorldSID dummies would be finalized on different timelines with the 50th percentile dummy development expected to be completed well ahead of the smaller one. This would allow contracting parties to obtain benefits of the 50th percentile adult male without having to wait for the 5th percentile adult female to be finalized. NHTSA is concerned that a GTR, which included requirements for a WorldSID 50th percentile adult, but not a smaller adult dummy such as the SID– IIs, would not provide protection to smaller adults or children. This is because the agency has found that including the smaller 5th percentile dummy is not only important to protecting smaller adults, but is also effective in ensuring airbags and sensors designed for side impact protection work effectively for impact occurring at any point across vehicle full door widths. The IWG is still in the early stages of its work and is expected to meet regularly with periodic reporting to WP.29. D. Exchange of Information • Harmonized Side Impact Dummies This activity is sponsored and chaired by the United States. The IWG working on addressing this issue generally meets in conjunction with the Pole Side Impact GTR IWG meetings as it is tasked with supporting the GTR by developing the WorldSID dummies. Please refer to the discussion in the ‘‘Status of GTRs under development’’ section above. emcdonald on DSK29S0YB1PROD with NOTICES • Enforcement Working Group At the June 2011 session of WP.29, NHTSA proposed that WP.29 consider forming a new working group that would meet to facilitate the regular exchange of nonproprietary or otherwise non privileged information on enforcement related activities from around the world to help governments identify and manage incidences of automotive non-compliance or defects more quickly. The participants of WP.29 welcomed the proposal and agreed to hold the first meeting during the November session of WP.29. The new working group includes only governmental representatives to VerDate Mar<15>2010 15:09 Jan 27, 2012 Jkt 226001 facilitate the open flow of information between the vehicle safety enforcement arms of the various contracting parties. E. Compendium of Candidate GTRs 4623 DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [Docket No. NHTSA–2012–0013] Article 5 of the 1998 Global Agreement provides for the creation of a compendium of candidate technical regulations submitted by the Contracting Parties. To date, NHTSA has submitted several Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) for inclusion in this Compendium. These FMVSS have all been listed in the Compendium after an affirmative vote of the Executive Committee of the 1998 Global Agreement. The FMVSS listed in the Compendium include: • FMVSS 202a: Head Restraints • FMVSS 108: Lamps, Reflective Devices, and Associated Equipment • FMVSS 135: Passenger Car Brake Systems • FMVSS 139: New Pneumatic Radial Tires for Light Vehicles • FMVSS 205: Glazing Materials • FMVSS 213: Child Restraint Systems • US EPA and the DOT programs for Light-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emission Standards and Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards Additionally, the Compendium contains Japan’s submission for its technical standard for fuel leakage entitled ‘‘Regulations for road vehicles in Japan regarding hydrogen and fuelcell vehicles.’’ IV. Request for Comments NHTSA invites public comments on the various activities outlined in this notice. The agency plans to issue new proposed rules based on each GTR as they are established by WP.29 and will consider additional detailed comments at that time. In the event that the public’s comments provide new information and data that leads the agency to adopt final rules that significantly differ from the GTRs upon which they were initially proposed, NHTSA will consider seeking amendments to those GTRs in an effort to maintain harmonization. Issued on: January 20, 2012. Christopher J. Bonanti, Associate Administrator for Rulemaking. [FR Doc. 2012–1853 Filed 1–27–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–59–P PO 00000 Frm 00083 Fmt 4703 Wheego Electric Cars, Inc. Receipt of Petition for Temporary Exemption From the Electronic Stability Control Requirements of FMVSS No. 126 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Department of Transportation (DOT). ACTION: Notice of receipt of a petition for temporary exemption from Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 126, Electronic Stability Control Systems. AGENCY: In accordance with the procedures in 49 CFR part 555, Wheego Electric Cars, Inc., has petitioned the agency for a temporary exemption from the electronic stability control requirements of FMVSS No. 126. The basis for the application is that the petitioner avers that the exemption would make the development or field evaluation of a low-emission vehicle easier and would not unreasonably lower the safety level of that vehicle.1 This notice of receipt of an application for a temporary exemption is published in accordance with statutory and administrative provisions. NHTSA has made no judgment on the merits of the application. DATES: You should submit your comments not later than February 29, 2012. SUMMARY: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: David Jasinski, Office of the Chief Counsel, NCC–112, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building 4th Floor, Room W41–213, Washington, DC 20590. Telephone: (202) 366–2992; Fax: (202) 366–3820. ADDRESSES: We invite you to submit comments on the application described above. You may submit comments identified by docket number at the heading of this notice by any of the following methods: • Web Site: https:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments on the electronic docket site by clicking on ‘‘Help and Information’’ or ‘‘Help/ Info.’’ • Fax: 1 (202) 493–2251. • Mail: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M– 1 To view the application and its supplement, go to https://www.regulations.gov and enter the docket number set forth in the heading of this document. Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\30JAN1.SGM 30JAN1 emcdonald on DSK29S0YB1PROD with NOTICES 4624 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 19 / Monday, January 30, 2012 / Notices 30, Room W12–140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590. • Hand Delivery: 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays. • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to https://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Instructions: All submissions must include the agency name and docket number. Note that all comments received will be posted without change to https://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. Please see the Privacy Act discussion below. We will consider all comments received before the close of business on the comment closing date indicated above. To the extent possible, we will also consider comments filed after the closing date. Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments received, go to https:// www.regulations.gov at any time or to 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays. Telephone: (202) 366–9826. Privacy Act: Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review DOT’s complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 70; Pages 19477–78) or you may visit https://www.dot.gov/ privacy.html. Confidential Business Information: If you wish to submit any information under a claim of confidentiality, you should submit three copies of your complete submission, including the information you claim to be confidential business information, to the Chief Counsel, NHTSA, at the address given under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. In addition, you should submit two copies, from which you have deleted the claimed confidential business information, to Docket Management at the address given above. When you send a comment containing information claimed to be confidential business information, you should include a cover letter setting forth the information specified in our confidential business information regulation (49 CFR Part 512). VerDate Mar<15>2010 15:09 Jan 27, 2012 Jkt 226001 SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Statutory Basis for Temporary Exemptions The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act (Safety Act), codified as 49 U.S.C. Chapter 301, authorizes the Secretary of Transportation to exempt, on a temporary basis and under specified circumstances, motor vehicles from a motor vehicle safety standard or bumper standard. This authority is set forth at 49 U.S.C. 30113. The Secretary has delegated the authority in this section to NHTSA. NHTSA established 49 CFR part 555, Temporary Exemption from Motor Vehicle Safety and Bumper Standards, to implement the statutory provisions concerning temporary exemptions. A vehicle manufacturer wishing to obtain an exemption from a standard must demonstrate in its application (A) that an exemption would be in the public interest and consistent with the Safety Act and (B) that the manufacturer satisfies one of the following four bases for an exemption: (i) Compliance with the standard would cause substantial economic hardship to a manufacturer that has tried to comply with the standard in good faith; (ii) the exemption would make easier the development or field evaluation of a new motor vehicle safety feature providing a safety level at least equal to the safety level of the standard; (iii) the exemption would make the development or field evaluation of a low-emission motor vehicle easier and would not unreasonably lower the safety level of that vehicle; or (iv) compliance with the standard would prevent the manufacturer from selling a motor vehicle with an overall safety level at least equal to the overall safety level of nonexempt vehicles. For an exemption petition to be granted on the basis that the exemption would make the development or field evaluation of a low-emission motor vehicle easier and would not unreasonably lower the safety level of the vehicle, the petition must include specified information set forth at 49 CFR 555.6(c). The main requirements of that section include: (1) Substantiation that the vehicle is a low-emission vehicle; (2) documentation establishing that a temporary exemption would not unreasonably degrade the safety of a vehicle; (3) substantiation that a temporary exemption would facilitate the development or field evaluation of the vehicle; (4) a statement of whether the petitioner intends to conform to the standard at the end of the exemption period; and (5) a statement that not more than 2,500 exempted vehicles will PO 00000 Frm 00084 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 be sold in the United States in any 12month period for which an exemption may be granted. II. Electronic Stability Control Systems Requirement In April 2007, NHTSA published a final rule requiring that vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 4,536 kilograms (kg) (10,000 pounds) or less be equipped with electronic stability control (ESC) systems. ESC systems use automatic computer-controlled braking of individual wheels to assist the driver in maintaining control in critical driving situations in which the vehicle is beginning to lose directional stability at the rear wheels (spin out) or directional control at the front wheels (plow out). An anti-lock brake system (ABS) is a prerequisite for an ESC system because ESC uses many of the same components as ABS. Thus, the cost of complying with FMVSS No. 126 is less for vehicle models already equipped with ABS. Preventing single-vehicle loss-ofcontrol crashes is the most effective way to reduce deaths resulting from rollover crashes. This is because most loss-ofcontrol crashes culminate in the vehicle leaving the roadway, which dramatically increases the probability of a rollover. NHTSA’s crash data study of existing vehicles equipped with ESC demonstrated that these systems reduce fatal single-vehicle crashes of passenger cars by 55 percent and fatal singlevehicle crashes of light trucks and vans (LTVs) by 50 percent.2 NHTSA estimates that ESC has the potential to prevent 56 percent of the fatal passenger car rollovers and 74 percent of the fatal LTV first-event rollovers that would otherwise occur in single-vehicle crashes.3 The ESC requirement became effective for substantially all vehicles on September 1, 2011. III. Overview of Petition In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 30113 and the procedures in 49 CFR Part 555, Wheego Electric Cars, Inc. (Wheego) submitted a petition dated August 15, 2011 asking the agency for a temporary exemption from the electronic stability control requirements of FMVSS No. 126. Wheego submitted a supplement to its application by letter dated December 2, 2011. The basis for the application is that the exemption would make the development or field evaluation of a low-emission vehicle easier and would not unreasonably lower the safety level 2 Sivinski, R., Crash Prevention Effectiveness of Light-Vehicle Electronic Stability Control: An Update of the 2007 NHTSA Evaluation; DOT HS 811 486 (June 2011). 3 Id. E:\FR\FM\30JAN1.SGM 30JAN1 emcdonald on DSK29S0YB1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 19 / Monday, January 30, 2012 / Notices of that vehicle. Wheego has requested an exemption for the LiFe model until August 1, 2012. Wheego is a Delaware corporation with its headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. Wheego began manufacturing and selling low-speed electric vehicles in the U.S. in June 2009. In April 2011, Wheego began manufacturing its first all-electric passenger car, the two-door, two-seat LiFe model. Wheego also states that it is developing a four-door passenger vehicle for sale in late 2012. In February 2011, Wheego was granted a temporary exemption from the advanced air bag requirements of FMVSS No. 208, Occupant Crash Protection, that is effective until February 11, 2013.4 Wheego states that it plans to meet all other currently applicable FMVSSs for a passenger car. Wheego asserts that the company had intended to develop an ESC system for the LiFe. However, Wheego asserts that delays in funding and later developments made it impossible for Wheego to develop an ESC system for the LiFe before September 2011. Wheego requests an exemption from the ESC requirements until August 1, 2012 for up to 500 vehicles so that it can continue its development and evaluation of a low-emission vehicle.5 Wheego states that the company intends to comply with FMVSS No. 126 at the end of the exemption period. Wheego asserts that a temporary exemption would not unreasonably degrade the safety or impact protection of the vehicle. Wheego states that the LiFe has an ABS system that prevents loss of control by preventing the wheels from locking up and the tires from skidding during braking. Wheego also asserts that its standard tires are wide with wide, circumferential grooves that provide rapid water evacuation to aid wet traction. Wheego notes that the LiFe is limited to a top speed of 65 mph, which may contribute to a reduction of crashes associated with high speeds. Wheego also states that the LiFe has a low center of gravity with 762 pounds of batteries beneath the floorboard of the vehicle. Further, Wheego argues that the relatively limited range of the LiFe compared to gasoline-powered vehicles (100 miles before needing a charge) makes it less likely that a LiFe would be involved in a high-speed or rollover crash. Wheego also asserts that the relatively small number of vehicles that would be produced under the 4 See 76 FR 7898 (Feb. 11, 2011); Docket No. NHTSA–2010–0118. 5 Wheego initially requested an exemption for up to 1,000 vehicles, but later amended its petition to request no more than 500 exempted vehicles. VerDate Mar<15>2010 15:09 Jan 27, 2012 Jkt 226001 exemption suggests that the exemption would have a negligible effect on vehicle safety. Wheego argues that an exemption would make the development or field evaluation of a low-emission vehicle easier. Wheego states that it would be able to use consumer feedback and other testing and evaluation to improve design and efficiency to improve charging, battery management, and safety systems in future vehicle models. Wheego states that, without the exemption, the company would not be able to produce enough cars or revenue to sustain these developments or to launch a new vehicle model. Wheego also believes that its success can add to the overall development of lowemission vehicles as a whole by demonstrating the viability of electric cars to consumers and encouraging other manufacturers to build electric cars. Wheego also asserts that the granting of the exemption would be in the public interest. Wheego notes that NHTSA has traditionally found that the public interest is served by affording consumers a wider variety of motor vehicles, by encouraging the development of fuel-efficient and alternative-energy vehicles, and by providing additional employment opportunities. Wheego asserts that granting this petition serves each of those interests. IV. Completeness and Comment Period Upon receiving a petition, NHTSA conducts an initial review of the petition with respect to whether the petition is complete and whether the petitioner appears to be eligible to apply for the requested petition. The agency has tentatively concluded that the petition from Wheego is complete and that Wheego is eligible to apply for a temporary exemption. The agency has not made any judgment on the merits of the application, and is placing a nonconfidential copy of the petition in the docket. The agency seeks comment from the public on the merits of Wheego’s application for a temporary exemption from FMVSS No. 126. We are providing a 30-day comment period. After considering public comments and other available information, we will publish a notice of final action on the application in the Federal Register. Issued on: January 24, 2012. Christopher J. Bonanti, Associate Administrator for Rulemaking. [FR Doc. 2012–1960 Filed 1–27–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–59–P PO 00000 Frm 00085 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 4625 DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request January 24, 2012. The Department of the Treasury will submit the following information collection request to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and clearance in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104–13, on or after the date of publication of this notice. DATES: Comments should be received on or before February 29, 2012 to be assured of consideration. ADDRESSES: Send comments regarding the burden estimate, or any other aspect of the information collection, including suggestion for reducing the burden, to (1) Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, Attention: Desk Officer for Treasury, New Executive Office Building, Room 10235, Washington, DC 20503, or email at OIRA_Submission@OMB.EOP.GOV and (2) Treasury PRA Clearance Officer, 1750 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Suite 11020, Washington, DC 20220, or online at www.PRAComment.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Copies of the submission(s) may be obtained by calling (202) 927–5331, email at PRA@treasury.gov, or the entire information collection request maybe found at www.reginfo.gov. International Affairs OMB Number: 1505–0018. Type of Review: Revision a currently approved collection. Title: Report of Customers’ U.S. Dollar Liabilities to Foreigners. Form: TIC Form BL–2. Abstract: Form BL–2 is required by law and is designed to collect timely information on international portfolio capital movements, including U.S. dollar liabilities of customers of depository institutions, bank and financial holding companies, brokers and dealers vis-a-vis foreigners. The information is necessary in the computation of the U.S. balance of payments accounts and the U.S. international investment position, and in the formulation of U.S. international financial and monetary policies. Affected Public: Private Sector: businesses or other for-profits. Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 7,920. OMB Number: 1505–0189. Type of Review: Revision a currently approved collection. E:\FR\FM\30JAN1.SGM 30JAN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 19 (Monday, January 30, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 4623-4625]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-1960]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2012-0013]


Wheego Electric Cars, Inc. Receipt of Petition for Temporary 
Exemption From the Electronic Stability Control Requirements of FMVSS 
No. 126

AGENCY: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 
Department of Transportation (DOT).

ACTION: Notice of receipt of a petition for temporary exemption from 
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 126, Electronic 
Stability Control Systems.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: In accordance with the procedures in 49 CFR part 555, Wheego 
Electric Cars, Inc., has petitioned the agency for a temporary 
exemption from the electronic stability control requirements of FMVSS 
No. 126. The basis for the application is that the petitioner avers 
that the exemption would make the development or field evaluation of a 
low-emission vehicle easier and would not unreasonably lower the safety 
level of that vehicle.\1\ This notice of receipt of an application for 
a temporary exemption is published in accordance with statutory and 
administrative provisions. NHTSA has made no judgment on the merits of 
the application.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ To view the application and its supplement, go to https://www.regulations.gov and enter the docket number set forth in the 
heading of this document.

DATES: You should submit your comments not later than February 29, 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
2012.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: David Jasinski, Office of the Chief 
Counsel, NCC-112, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1200 
New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building 4th Floor, Room W41-213, 
Washington, DC 20590. Telephone: (202) 366-2992; Fax: (202) 366-3820.

ADDRESSES: We invite you to submit comments on the application 
described above. You may submit comments identified by docket number at 
the heading of this notice by any of the following methods:
     Web Site: https://www.regulations.gov. Follow the 
instructions for submitting comments on the electronic docket site by 
clicking on ``Help and Information'' or ``Help/Info.''
     Fax: 1 (202) 493-2251.
     Mail: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket 
Operations, M-

[[Page 4624]]

30, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.
     Hand Delivery: 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building 
Ground Floor, Room W12-140, Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., 
Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays.
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to https://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting 
comments.
    Instructions: All submissions must include the agency name and 
docket number. Note that all comments received will be posted without 
change to https://www.regulations.gov, including any personal 
information provided. Please see the Privacy Act discussion below. We 
will consider all comments received before the close of business on the 
comment closing date indicated above. To the extent possible, we will 
also consider comments filed after the closing date.
    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or 
comments received, go to https://www.regulations.gov at any time or to 
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 
Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, 
except Federal Holidays. Telephone: (202) 366-9826.
    Privacy Act: Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all 
comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual 
submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf 
of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review DOT's 
complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on 
April 11, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 70; Pages 19477-78) or you may visit 
https://www.dot.gov/privacy.html.
    Confidential Business Information: If you wish to submit any 
information under a claim of confidentiality, you should submit three 
copies of your complete submission, including the information you claim 
to be confidential business information, to the Chief Counsel, NHTSA, 
at the address given under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. In 
addition, you should submit two copies, from which you have deleted the 
claimed confidential business information, to Docket Management at the 
address given above. When you send a comment containing information 
claimed to be confidential business information, you should include a 
cover letter setting forth the information specified in our 
confidential business information regulation (49 CFR Part 512).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Statutory Basis for Temporary Exemptions

    The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act (Safety Act), 
codified as 49 U.S.C. Chapter 301, authorizes the Secretary of 
Transportation to exempt, on a temporary basis and under specified 
circumstances, motor vehicles from a motor vehicle safety standard or 
bumper standard. This authority is set forth at 49 U.S.C. 30113. The 
Secretary has delegated the authority in this section to NHTSA.
    NHTSA established 49 CFR part 555, Temporary Exemption from Motor 
Vehicle Safety and Bumper Standards, to implement the statutory 
provisions concerning temporary exemptions. A vehicle manufacturer 
wishing to obtain an exemption from a standard must demonstrate in its 
application (A) that an exemption would be in the public interest and 
consistent with the Safety Act and (B) that the manufacturer satisfies 
one of the following four bases for an exemption: (i) Compliance with 
the standard would cause substantial economic hardship to a 
manufacturer that has tried to comply with the standard in good faith; 
(ii) the exemption would make easier the development or field 
evaluation of a new motor vehicle safety feature providing a safety 
level at least equal to the safety level of the standard; (iii) the 
exemption would make the development or field evaluation of a low-
emission motor vehicle easier and would not unreasonably lower the 
safety level of that vehicle; or (iv) compliance with the standard 
would prevent the manufacturer from selling a motor vehicle with an 
overall safety level at least equal to the overall safety level of 
nonexempt vehicles.
    For an exemption petition to be granted on the basis that the 
exemption would make the development or field evaluation of a low-
emission motor vehicle easier and would not unreasonably lower the 
safety level of the vehicle, the petition must include specified 
information set forth at 49 CFR 555.6(c). The main requirements of that 
section include: (1) Substantiation that the vehicle is a low-emission 
vehicle; (2) documentation establishing that a temporary exemption 
would not unreasonably degrade the safety of a vehicle; (3) 
substantiation that a temporary exemption would facilitate the 
development or field evaluation of the vehicle; (4) a statement of 
whether the petitioner intends to conform to the standard at the end of 
the exemption period; and (5) a statement that not more than 2,500 
exempted vehicles will be sold in the United States in any 12-month 
period for which an exemption may be granted.

II. Electronic Stability Control Systems Requirement

    In April 2007, NHTSA published a final rule requiring that vehicles 
with a gross vehicle weight rating of 4,536 kilograms (kg) (10,000 
pounds) or less be equipped with electronic stability control (ESC) 
systems. ESC systems use automatic computer-controlled braking of 
individual wheels to assist the driver in maintaining control in 
critical driving situations in which the vehicle is beginning to lose 
directional stability at the rear wheels (spin out) or directional 
control at the front wheels (plow out). An anti-lock brake system (ABS) 
is a prerequisite for an ESC system because ESC uses many of the same 
components as ABS. Thus, the cost of complying with FMVSS No. 126 is 
less for vehicle models already equipped with ABS.
    Preventing single-vehicle loss-of-control crashes is the most 
effective way to reduce deaths resulting from rollover crashes. This is 
because most loss-of-control crashes culminate in the vehicle leaving 
the roadway, which dramatically increases the probability of a 
rollover. NHTSA's crash data study of existing vehicles equipped with 
ESC demonstrated that these systems reduce fatal single-vehicle crashes 
of passenger cars by 55 percent and fatal single-vehicle crashes of 
light trucks and vans (LTVs) by 50 percent.\2\ NHTSA estimates that ESC 
has the potential to prevent 56 percent of the fatal passenger car 
rollovers and 74 percent of the fatal LTV first-event rollovers that 
would otherwise occur in single-vehicle crashes.\3\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ Sivinski, R., Crash Prevention Effectiveness of Light-
Vehicle Electronic Stability Control: An Update of the 2007 NHTSA 
Evaluation; DOT HS 811 486 (June 2011).
    \3\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The ESC requirement became effective for substantially all vehicles 
on September 1, 2011.

III. Overview of Petition

    In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 30113 and the procedures in 49 CFR 
Part 555, Wheego Electric Cars, Inc. (Wheego) submitted a petition 
dated August 15, 2011 asking the agency for a temporary exemption from 
the electronic stability control requirements of FMVSS No. 126. Wheego 
submitted a supplement to its application by letter dated December 2, 
2011. The basis for the application is that the exemption would make 
the development or field evaluation of a low-emission vehicle easier 
and would not unreasonably lower the safety level

[[Page 4625]]

of that vehicle. Wheego has requested an exemption for the LiFe model 
until August 1, 2012.
    Wheego is a Delaware corporation with its headquarters in Atlanta, 
Georgia. Wheego began manufacturing and selling low-speed electric 
vehicles in the U.S. in June 2009. In April 2011, Wheego began 
manufacturing its first all-electric passenger car, the two-door, two-
seat LiFe model. Wheego also states that it is developing a four-door 
passenger vehicle for sale in late 2012.
    In February 2011, Wheego was granted a temporary exemption from the 
advanced air bag requirements of FMVSS No. 208, Occupant Crash 
Protection, that is effective until February 11, 2013.\4\ Wheego states 
that it plans to meet all other currently applicable FMVSSs for a 
passenger car.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \4\ See 76 FR 7898 (Feb. 11, 2011); Docket No. NHTSA-2010-0118.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Wheego asserts that the company had intended to develop an ESC 
system for the LiFe. However, Wheego asserts that delays in funding and 
later developments made it impossible for Wheego to develop an ESC 
system for the LiFe before September 2011. Wheego requests an exemption 
from the ESC requirements until August 1, 2012 for up to 500 vehicles 
so that it can continue its development and evaluation of a low-
emission vehicle.\5\ Wheego states that the company intends to comply 
with FMVSS No. 126 at the end of the exemption period.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \5\ Wheego initially requested an exemption for up to 1,000 
vehicles, but later amended its petition to request no more than 500 
exempted vehicles.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Wheego asserts that a temporary exemption would not unreasonably 
degrade the safety or impact protection of the vehicle. Wheego states 
that the LiFe has an ABS system that prevents loss of control by 
preventing the wheels from locking up and the tires from skidding 
during braking. Wheego also asserts that its standard tires are wide 
with wide, circumferential grooves that provide rapid water evacuation 
to aid wet traction. Wheego notes that the LiFe is limited to a top 
speed of 65 mph, which may contribute to a reduction of crashes 
associated with high speeds. Wheego also states that the LiFe has a low 
center of gravity with 762 pounds of batteries beneath the floorboard 
of the vehicle. Further, Wheego argues that the relatively limited 
range of the LiFe compared to gasoline-powered vehicles (100 miles 
before needing a charge) makes it less likely that a LiFe would be 
involved in a high-speed or rollover crash. Wheego also asserts that 
the relatively small number of vehicles that would be produced under 
the exemption suggests that the exemption would have a negligible 
effect on vehicle safety.
    Wheego argues that an exemption would make the development or field 
evaluation of a low-emission vehicle easier. Wheego states that it 
would be able to use consumer feedback and other testing and evaluation 
to improve design and efficiency to improve charging, battery 
management, and safety systems in future vehicle models. Wheego states 
that, without the exemption, the company would not be able to produce 
enough cars or revenue to sustain these developments or to launch a new 
vehicle model. Wheego also believes that its success can add to the 
overall development of low-emission vehicles as a whole by 
demonstrating the viability of electric cars to consumers and 
encouraging other manufacturers to build electric cars.
    Wheego also asserts that the granting of the exemption would be in 
the public interest. Wheego notes that NHTSA has traditionally found 
that the public interest is served by affording consumers a wider 
variety of motor vehicles, by encouraging the development of fuel-
efficient and alternative-energy vehicles, and by providing additional 
employment opportunities. Wheego asserts that granting this petition 
serves each of those interests.

IV. Completeness and Comment Period

    Upon receiving a petition, NHTSA conducts an initial review of the 
petition with respect to whether the petition is complete and whether 
the petitioner appears to be eligible to apply for the requested 
petition. The agency has tentatively concluded that the petition from 
Wheego is complete and that Wheego is eligible to apply for a temporary 
exemption. The agency has not made any judgment on the merits of the 
application, and is placing a non-confidential copy of the petition in 
the docket.
    The agency seeks comment from the public on the merits of Wheego's 
application for a temporary exemption from FMVSS No. 126. We are 
providing a 30-day comment period. After considering public comments 
and other available information, we will publish a notice of final 
action on the application in the Federal Register.

    Issued on: January 24, 2012.
Christopher J. Bonanti,
Associate Administrator for Rulemaking.
[FR Doc. 2012-1960 Filed 1-27-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P