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My understanding is that regulations for boutique automakers in the USA are opening up in 2018, if you build under 300 cars a year you don't have to meet safety or emissions regs
You might hope so, but no. That exemption for under 325 vehicles per year only applies to replica cars which resemble production vehicles manufactured at least 25 years ago.

AutoWeek: Small-volume carmakers get a big break in Motor Vehicle Safety Act

It might be possible to build an EV which qualifies as a replica, but it would still need to have the body appearance of something old enough.
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