By on April 25, 2014

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Since we last looked at Elio Motors, the startup that plans on selling an 84 mpg, $6,800 tandem reverse trike to people looking to replace 15 year old beaters, there have been a number of developments involving the company. To begin with, the start of production has been pushed back until the beginning of 2015. Though Elio had originally announced that production would start in Q4 of this year, there were delays in finalizing the real estate deal for the former General Motors assembly plant in Shreveport, Louisiana where Elio plans to build their vehicles, including assembling their own engines (whose preliminary specifications have been announced). There have also be some changes to the car’s design as it gets closer to production, with a fourth prototype being introduced. Finally, Elio has announced how they will market and service the vehicle. Like Tesla, they will be setting up factory owned stores to sell directly to customers. Those stores, though, won’t be providing service.

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At the beginning of 2013, Elio and Louisiana state officials announced that the startup automaker would be using about a third of the more than 4 million square feet of vacant manufacturing space at GM’s Shreveport factory. The announced plan was going to be that Elio investor Stuart Lichter’s Industrial Realty Group was going to buy the plant from RACER Trust, which is selling off properties formerly owned by pre-bankruptcy General Motors, and that Elio would in turn lease part of the plant from IRG. Sometime during the course of 2013 that plan changed to the Caddo Parish Commision’s Industrial Development Board buying the plant for approximately $7.5 milion, with IRG leasing the entire facility and then subleasing part of it to Elio. The factory is in Caddo Parish. After a lawsuit challenging the purchase was dismissed, earlier this year the county bought the plant and the deal was consummated. Subsequent to finalizing the real estate transaction Elio announced that they would start what they describe as “significant” hiring  in the fourth quarter of this year, with total employment of 1,500 reached after production starts in 2015.

IRG said that it hopes to attract at least some of Elio’s suppliers to locate operations in the remaining 2.6 million square feet that Elio is not using. In addition to announcing when hiring for the plant will begin, now that they have a lease, the company has contracted with Comau Inc. to provide automation services for the factory’s body and engine shops. Elio will be welding up their own space frames and attaching composite body panels to those frames. Comau will be supplying the robots and machinery to do so. Elio will also be assembling their own engines, designed exclusively for them by IAV. Comau will be providing the transfer machinery for Elio’s engine assembly.

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The preliminary specs on that engine have been released. It’s a fairly conventional water cooled single overhead cam 0.9 liter 3 cylinder engine with two valves per cylinder and sequential port fuel injection. The crankcase, heads and oil sump will all be made of cast aluminum. The power ratings are 55 hp and 55 lb-ft of torque. Some of the people who have made reservations for an Elio trike have expressed disappointment that the engine will be smaller and have less power than the 1.0 liter 70 hp engine that Elio had previously mentioned. It doesn’t look like anyone’s cancelling their reservations yet, though.

Speaking of reservations, when I spoke to the company’s VP of retail operations, Jerome Vassallo, about a month ago, he told me that they’d gotten over 11,000 paid reservations for the as yet unnamed vehicle. At the time, based on previous announcements, my guess was that about 1,000 people a month were signing on. Elio now says they now have over 14,600 reservations so it looks like the rate is accelerating.  How many of those reservations are at the impulse purchase level of $100 and how many represent a serious financial commitment to the Elio concept haven’t been publicly revealed.

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There have also been some changes now that the P4 prototype has been revealed. The company is chasing after that 84 mpg figure because they want to be able to get triple the average fuel economy of the American fleet of cars. Towards that end the body has had some aero refinement since I saw it last summer. Headlights are now mounted flush with the body on the hood of the vehicle instead of in Plymouth Prowler style pods sticking out from the sides. The roofline has been extended all the way to to the rear, eliminating the notchback, except for a small ducktail spoiler. The changes are to smooth the airflow, and there’s also now a more pronounced Kamm back. The new roofline has an added benefit of slightly increasing cargo space. The front wheels’ cycle style fenders are now fully skirted, and the company says that it will offer different style fenders as accessories.

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Apparently, aerodynamic concerns have also resulted in a new front suspension design. The previous prototype used a classic double wishbone setup with a coilover shock absorber/spring running diagonally from the outboard end of the lower control arm to an upper mount on the frame. They’re still using unequal length control arms but they’ve taken the coilover unit out of the airflow and mounted it inside the body fairing using a trick setup. The upper shock mount is still on the frame, but the lower end of the shock absorber is located by a pivoting link attached to the lower frame. A narrow pull rod runs from the lower shock mount to the outboard end of the upper control arm.

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In addition to the mechanical and exterior changes, the Elio trike will be getting a nicer interior than used in the previous prototype, with color matched panels. Also, regarding interior features, Elio announced what I think is a rather clever way of keeping up with consumers who expect modern infotainment. The Engineering Services unit of Continental tire is going to be providing electrical engineering and architecture support for the production Elio vehicles. In other words, they’re designing the wiring harness and engine control unit. If you think that a tire company is an unusual choice for an E/E supplier, particularly since Elio has already announced that Cooper will be supplying their OEM tires, Continental owns electronics and instrument supplier VDO.

That connection with VDO will produce Elio’s version of infotainment, a clever application of something VDO developed for the over the road trucking industry. Today’s consumers expect some form of infotainment electronics on their cars. A small company like Elio doesn’t have the resources to develop something like Ford’s Sync/My Ford Touch or Chrysler’s UConnect. Last year, Continental Commercial Vehicles & Aftermarket and VDO introduced the Flexible Smartphone Docking Station (FSDS). FSDS was designed to integrate over-the-road truck drivers’ smartphones with their vehicles and by offering it in their three wheeler, Elio takes care of the “how do you offer Nav on a cheap car?” problem.

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The FSDS has a clamp that will hold most smartphones and comes with a phone app, developed by Continental, that enables the availability of phone features including online services while driving. The unit, which hooks up to your phone via Bluetooth, has an onboard audio amplifier with four channels rated at 20 Watts per channel, an integrated station seeking FM tuner, and a 5 volt USB tap for charging your phone. In terms of functionality, VDO says that the FSDS app includes the functions drivers require most while driving, such as phone calls, maps, online points of interest, and music selection. All features use text to speech to reduce distracted driving, and the app bundles related services such as  Community (communication & social networking), Vehicle (audio entertainment) and Proximity (individual add-ons) so they can be accessed with a single click.

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As the Elio vehicle nears production, the company has finally announced how it will distribute and sell it. Sixty major markets in the United States have been identified and they will each get at least one factory owned Elio store that will sell directly to customers. With Tesla running up against car dealer franchise laws in Texas, Ohio, Arizona and most recently in New Jersey, I asked Vassallo how Elio plans to deal with the same problem. Here’s where three wheels again come in handy. Though Elio plans to have their vehicle meet automotive level safety and crash standards, as a three wheeler, it’s legally considered a motorcycle and thus has an easier and cheaper certification process. According to Vassallo, their status as a motorcycle, as opposed to an automobile, manufacturer will make a difference when it comes to operating factory stores in some states. He specifically mentioned that Harley-Davidson has factory owned stores, though he didn’t say whether those stores were in Texas or the other states that are problematic for Tesla. I checked with Harley-Davidson about factory owned stores and at the time of this publication, I’m still waiting for their PR contact to get back to me about whether H-D has factory owned stores in Texas, New Jersey, Ohio or Arizona. For the record, the Texas dealer franchise laws, which are considered to be the strongest in the country, cover any motorized road vehicle with at least two wheels.

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Interestingly, while the factory stores will sell the Elio vehicles and accessories, if you buy an Elio, you won’t get it serviced directly by the company. Contracts have been signed and an announcement will be forthcoming that an existing nationwide chain of automotive service centers will be responsible for maintenance, service and warranty work on the Elio trikes. Parts and service are major profit generators for traditional car dealers, so it’s surprising that the manufacturer would pass up that revenue, but there are costs associated with setting up parts supply and logistics and many companies today do outsource that kind of stuff.

Finally, Vassallo told me that sometime soon, Elio Motors will make a major announcement concerning investors. Since the company is privately held, my guess is that they’re either going to announce an initial public offering of stock, a major investor, or some kind of program where potential buyers of the Elio trike can also invest in the company. Again, those are guesses.

When the Elio project started getting attention, just about everyone who commented on it assumed it was at best vaporware and at worst a scam. As I said last summer, three wheeled high gas mileage vehicles with composite bodies don’t have a great track record of actually getting to market (cf. Dale et al). Some have questioned Elio’s financials, resulting in comment flame wars between Elio skeptics and the Elio faithful, presumably folks with deposits down. I don’t know much about financials, but being the contrarian that I am, I said last summer that there wasn’t any reason why Elio shouldn’t be able to make a three wheeler with those performance, safety and fuel economy specifications at that price point and nothing has happened since then to change my mind. Think of the Nissan Versa or Toyota Yaris and subtract 25% of the cost.

I do question whether it will be cheaper for Elio to build their own motor than buy one of the 1 liter or smaller engines, mostly three cylinders, that are proliferating like mushrooms in the auto industry. When Morgan reintroduced the 3 Wheeler, they chose to buy engines from aftermarket V-Twin maker S&S, not build their own. Last year Caterham introduced an entry level Seven with a 660cc turbocharged triple made by Suzuki. There’s no shame in buying engines. Back in the day, Continental Motors supplied many independent automakers, with both stock and custom designed engines.

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On the other hand, Elio is planning on production levels far beyond those of specialist makers like Morgan and Caterham. At large enough production numbers, it’s likely to be cheaper to build your own motors.

Perhaps Elio Motors’ sums don’t add up. Certainly their backer IRG’s reliance on Caddo Parish’s purchase of the Shreveport assembly plant after publicly announcing only months earlier that IRG would be buying it themselves doesn’t exactly instill a lot of confidence in their stated plans. If the project ends up stillborn, or worse, a scam, I’ll be the first to say that I was wrong, but in the meantime I’m trying to keep an open mind about Elio.

There are genuine reasons to be skeptical, but from a manufacturing engineering standpoint, they can get the thing built and meet their stated performance specs. At the recent SAE World Congress I spoke to people from Comau and IAV about Elio Motors. Obviously, they aren’t going to say anything negative about a business partner, but when I brought up the fact that skeptics think Elio might be smoke and mirrors, the engineers from those firms said it wasn’t likely that their employers would sign contracts for vaporware.

Speaking of contracts and “vaporware”, as this post was being finished, Elio Motors and Flame-Spray Industries announced that FSI will be providing Elio with Plasma Transferred Wire Arc (PTWA) equipment. PTWA is a process that sprays a vapor of molten steel, depositing a thin, 150 micron layer of steel alloys on aluminum engine cylinder walls, eliminating the need for heavier inserted cast iron liners for the piston rings to ride on. PTWA was originally invented by Ford materials science and nanotech engineer Matthew Zaluzec, who started working on it in the early 1990s. FoMoCo then brought in Flame-Spray and Honsel to develop and market the process.

PTWA was first introduced on high performance engines, the supercharged 662 hp V8 in the Mustang Shelby GT500 and the 545 hp twin turbo V6 in Nissan’s GT-R. Flame-Spray markets PTWA as a weight-saving technique and my guess is that weight savings has a lot more significant impact on fuel economy when the vehicle has 1/10th the power and about a quarter of the weight of the GT-R, as is the case with the Elio tadpole.

By this time next year, we’ll know if Elio is for real or not. Actually, we’ll know by the end of this year, when Paul Elio says that his company will finally start hiring people to work at the Shreveport factory. The real estate is secured, they’ve contracted for production equipment, now let’s see if they start hiring some folks to man that equipment.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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52 Comments on “Elio Motors Update: Latest Prototype Shown, Lease & Contracts Signed, Factory Stores Announced...”


  • avatar
    FormerFF

    I’m still skeptical that they can hit that price point. I’m also surprised that they want to build their own engine, and I assume transmission. It seems to me that they’d remove a lot of risk by going with a proven drivetrain.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree 100%, but Harleys are being made in India now, so WTF do I know?

    • 0 avatar
      indi500fan

      Totally agree with your comment. How do you pay for mass production tooling selling boutique volume at a price lower than motorcyles and ATVs?

      Anybody else on here old enough to remember the “Dale” from 20th Century Motor Cars?

      • 0 avatar
        DeeDub

        Add me to that list. I don’t see how they can build this thing in the US for less than it costs Honda to mass-produce motorcycles in China.

        • 0 avatar
          lando

          They can’t, but they can reduce the profit to almost nothing and hope to make money on volume. Which I don’t see how this moves past a small niche market.

          • 0 avatar
            Luke42

            If they’re cheap and reliable enough, maybe they can sell to a bigger niche.

            The most comparable vehicle I know of is the Corbin Sparrow, which cost $16k. That, combined with the fact that it wasn’t a car, effectively priuced it out of the market of people looking for basic transportation. At $6800, the winner could be different for some people, including a younger me!

  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

    After reading the brief description of PTWA it would appear to be an improved technology compared to Kawasaki’s original Electrofusion cylinder bore surfacing system, in which a sextet of wires were stretched along the length of the cylinder and were then subjected to a massive jolt of electrical current. This would cause the wires to explode, with the heat involved fusing the material to the cylinder surface, thus creating a super hard, thin coating which held up well to long term engine use but was incapable of being rebored as the surface could no longer protect the softer cylinder material underneath.

    Oh yeah, Sajeev’s going to have a field day critiquing that piece of plastic inset to the A-pillar.

  • avatar
    AMC_CJ

    I’m really interested in this car…. if things work as he hope, I’m going to have a pretty long, but mostly leisurely, commute.

    One thing though is a immediate problem; a lack of a radio. I don’t own a smartphone, nor care to ever again….. pretty disappointed in that setup.

    • 0 avatar
      Crabspirits

      You could probably just use a cheap used tablet. No internet access (unless you wanted one with that capability), but you could still operate it and have navigation.

      • 0 avatar
        AMC_CJ

        Yeah, but tablets can’t pick up a radio signal unless it’s through the internet correct?

        I guess, I can just download all of my recorded vinyl on thing and play music that way, but I still like to have a regular radio for traffic, weather, especially when traveling (although I doubt I’d use this car for traveling, but then again, it would make it to the cabin in WV on 3 gallons of gas….)

        I could probably just pull out whatever came installed and install a aftermarket radio. Sucks I would have to do that though.

        • 0 avatar
          heavy handle

          Here’s what the article says:
          “The unit, which hooks up to your phone via Bluetooth, has an onboard audio amplifier with four channels rated at 20 Watts per channel, an integrated station seeking FM tuner”

          So it seems like you will be covered for FM. You may still want to find a cheap smartphone/tablet for everything else. There’s lots of bluetooth tablets for less than $150.

      • 0 avatar

        Tablet is too big to fit the clamps, probably.

        IF you had read closer the “onboard audio amplifier with four channels rated at 20 Watts per channel, an integrated station seeking FM tuner, and a 5 volt USB tap for charging your phone” The amp already has the fm tuner in it, though it seems like AM fans are getting a short shrift, plus the AM band is where traffic instructions are often broadcast.

        You buy a USED smartphone or inherit one from family. Root it, delete the phone dialing software, and it can’t be used as a phone. Bluetooth connects it, and you have a touchscreen radio control constantly plugged into your dash. You don’t have to delete the phone dialer, you could just run it in airplane mode with bluetooth activated seperately.

      • 0 avatar
        carrya1911

        I believe that Continental device has a radio tuner built into it.

    • 0 avatar
      Felis Concolor

      From what I saw in an earlier prototype and this one, the radio insert is of a standard Single-DIN type, which would allow for easy aftermarket radio upgrades.

    • 0 avatar
      Blackcloud_9

      According to the website, an AM/FM radio will be standard.

    • 0 avatar
      bryanska

      Not to be a jerk, but mobile devices surpassed 100% US market penetration in 2013, and smartphones represent 55% of that volume.

      I assume that was a mindful decision to opt out of that particular tech. Like not owning a TV in 1985, or a cellphone in 2005.

    • 0 avatar
      threeer

      I’ve been following Elio for some time now, and I really hope these guys succeed. Looking at my *true* vehicle usage when I’m back in the US, truthfully, this is all that I would need for about 85% of my driving. Add to the fact that I’m a rabid pro-American production guy, I am even more hopeful that they pull this off. I know it’ll be a stretch for most folks to consider this kind of car, even if they do hit the 84 MPG mark. Most Americans will still go the route of bigger is better, so the little Elio has a very large uphill battle to fight. Still, keeping my fingers crossed.
      Oh, and yes..I thought that in reading the Elio website that a radio is available, as are open fenders (though that might reduce MPG, many folks were disappointed in the appearance of the closed wheel fairings).

  • avatar
    John R

    I wonder if one can drop a ‘Busa motor in there…

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Foley

      That’s a great idea. With the ‘Busa motor, it ought to be good for 160 mph or so and still get 45 mpg.

      They can call it the Elio Castroneves.

      • 0 avatar
        TonyJZX

        an fwd hayabusa powered one would have wonderful handling

        i am curious about this from an academic standpoint and there’s some things that a quite neat… the interior has a quasi VW vibe however the price and extreme styling doesnt make sense

        $6,800?

        pay a bit more and get a micro car that has 4 seats and capacity to swallow a small washing machine

        and you dont look like one of the members of the jetsons family

        one thing about Musk is that he’s made his cars distinct and elegant but still “the same” as everyone else

        this looks different for differences sake

        i suspect this will end up being the American Tata Nano

      • 0 avatar
        bryanska

        FTW

  • avatar
    niky

    Even some of the supporters I know, people who put that %100 down, are braced and ready for this to turn out to be vaporware.

    Still, every time we hear engineering news out of the company, it all sounds and looks good. Looks a bit better thought out than the Aptera, at least.

    Mighty disappointed they’re not going off-the-shelf. There are a whole bunch of decent, low-weight three-cylinders out there. Hell, they should buy a batch of those Mirage motors from Germany, as it’s easily one of the most impressive of the lot… outperforming many smaller three-cylinders in terms of economy.

    • 0 avatar
      TonyJZX

      i’m of the opinion that Elio may have partially left the better engines in the back so as to have a viable upgrade path down the line or a performance model to come

      i’m a self professed gearhead head and my expectation is that cars should have a twin cam 4 valve motor preferably with direct injection… and a VG turbo

      a 2v sohc motor is kinda offputting even at this level but where’s the selling point for a MY16 model?

      hey i’m cynical

      • 0 avatar
        niky

        Elio 12v… so *much* better than last year’s 6v!

        It’s madness. A Suzuki K10 motor or a Mirage 1.2 can get you that 80+ mpg with a body like that… off-the-shelf. Going for a Mirage 1.2 or even a… Chevrolet… 1.2 3-pot gives you a wider supply of spares across the USA.

        Still, it’s prettier vaporware than the ugly mess the Aptera eventually became, as their lovely pie-in-the-sky concept morphed into something vaguely street-legal (true door slammer it was, unless you were in a slalom at the X-prize competition, then it became a door flapper…). This one looks better engineered. I hope it is. And hell, I hope I eventually get to drive one.

  • avatar
    faygo

    PTWA was introduced on the 5.4L 2011 GT500 motor and was a further weight-savings enabler with the move from iron to aluminum block.

    it was carried over to the 5.8L 2013 GT500 motor, which achieved its power gains with displacement and a better blower.

    every time I see pics of old microcars, I wonder whether something similar could ever be practical on today’s US automotive landscape. then I remember all the the SUVs and trucks which tower over my Fiesta and shudder to think of having 1000 lbs less structure around me…

  • avatar
    cpthaddock

    If VW or MB turn out to be investors, you can bet that it wont be long before BMW rushes an updated Isetta to market.

  • avatar
    lando

    I would be extremely tempted to buy this assuming it can actually meet the advertised specifications. And stay in business for a few years. And have some level of parts and online forum support. And is somewhat fun to drive. And that is why it isn’t going to happen. They are targeting the older used car market, which isn’t going to work, because (for most people in that market) this is their only car. They want something larger. This really only works as a second or third vehicle dedicated to commuting cheaply. But $6,800 plus running costs buys a lot of fuel for the primary vehicle. For example, ignoring running costs, if you had a primary vehicle which got 25 mpg, you could drive it for 50,000 miles for the cost of the Elio. Maybe it would be different if your other vehicle got <18mpg.

    • 0 avatar
      PhilMills

      As you say – it’s pretty well suited for replacing a “second car”.

      I’ve got a 10yo Saturn Ion that (besides the exciting risk of firey death) is starting to get a little gray around the edges. We’ve got a perfectly good Outback for a “family” car; we just need a replacement commuter vehicle to cheaply get one person to work and back or run the odd errand around town.

      $7000 seems like a good budget to fill that slot with.

  • avatar
    ezeolla

    I am happy to see this is becoming more and more real. I was really considering one if and when they came out, but my commute is about to drop from 50 miles per day to 20 so it isn’t really worth it, even at ~17 mpg.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Ah, some of those parts do look familiar: the door handles from the Honda Civic, the steering wheel and hub from the 2010-11 Camaro, the instrument cluster from….somewhere (and if only they could have gotten a newer one!). The concept itself really doesn’t look like anything you couldn’t build in your garage, and so I wish that Eliot had gone with off-the-shelf components and focused its monetary efforts on design and instrumentation. But maybe this car will give the company the cash it needs to later come out with a mind-blowing and all-original product, similar to what happened with Tesla…

  • avatar
    Bored383

    they need a breadvan version with increased cargo space . . . no rear seat, squared off tail, could be the ideal pizza delivery type vehicle

    I give it all a better chance than aptera

  • avatar
    TW5

    Elio is not vaporware. It’s the opposite of vaporware, in fact, because the vehicle so simple that almost any manufacturing enterprise can build it. Unfortunately, auto manufacturing is capital intensive; therefore, startup companies face strong barriers to entry. Elio Motors could fundamentally change US oil imports, but DOE is primarily interested in converting imported oil to clean domestic renewable energy. Frugal minimalism doesn’t really float their boat, and I suspect the DOE’s proclivity for boosting energy demand and production at all times explains why they denied Elio’s AVTM loan application.

    There was another company called Next Autoworks, who were doing something similar to Elio, though they promised new-age polymers and so forth. Next Autoworks was also denied by the DOE, but they managed to acquire backing from Google, T Boone Pickens, and KleinerPerkins before the company fell apart. Maybe Elio has caught the eye of a venture capital firm somewhere.

    The Elio has the potential to be incredibly disruptive within the auto transportation industry and the oil industry. I’m surprised they haven’t gotten more funding. Maybe the terms were too oppressive or maybe Elio management are freebirds who refuse to relinquish managerial control.

    • 0 avatar
      niky

      The vehicle is, obviously, very possible, and the engineering does look very solid.

      It’s everything else that isn’t.

      I still recall when this came out:
      http://cleantechnica.com/2013/08/19/paul-elio-motors-releases-financials/

      Their plans feel like a mixture of brilliant engineering and starry-eyed, overly naive business planning. The latter part may be why they have trouble getting those loans.

      • 0 avatar
        This Is Dawg

        As much as I want this company to succeed, wow those financials are scary. Assumptions like each salesman selling 6 cars a day are terrifying.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    I can’t see a 2-seater getting a lot of traction, although I’d look at this if I had a long commute. Wonder how many they need to sell to be profitable.

  • avatar
    FlatFenders

    As a retired field service engineer, I have driven over 2 million work miles. Over half of them in Suzuki built “Chevy Sprints” and “GEO Metros”. 99.9% of the time, I was the only one in the car along with a variety of tools and parts. These cars always had more then enough room for me but I never had any with air conditioning or electric windows, etc. The first one was a 1986 Sprint ER, it would get me 55+ M.P.G. over it’s 350,000 mile life before my son got T-Boned by a Taurus with it. Every Suzuki I have had since would eventually die in a similar fashion, never because of mechanical failures. When they decided to stop building this type of car, I was told “because there is no market for this vehicle”, I asked the idiot saying it to direct me to the lot where all the ones they could not sell are stored and I would make an offer on all of them. I concluded they decided to discontinue these because “who would buy a $30,000 electric car” (Prius) when you could get 4 or 5 of these for the same money. I sure hope they manufacture this little beauty and would be even more happy with it if they decided to use the time tested Suzuki 3 cylinder motor and 5 speed transmission.

  • avatar
    oldyak

    In my opinion this car is going to sell like hotcakes!
    A fully enclosed Center cockpit 2 seater…
    With air and cruise!!!
    What enthusiast WONT be lining up to drive /buy one??
    Can you imagine the aftermarket business!!!
    A super Seven/Morgan three wheeler you can drive rain or shine!
    If there is an IPO…
    I`m going for it Big Time

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      I think you’re right. It could tap those desirous of a Can-Am but held back by price or practicality reasons. And anything this much fun (and safe) for under 10K new will be irresistible to empty-nest boomers who don’t have to raise their grandkids and can therefore enjoy retirement a little.

      This could be like the Mustang for the final hump of the boomer curve.

      I’m as far as you get from an auto ‘enthusiast’ and I want to jump right into one of these. I’m too chickensh*t to ever ride bike again but this is different.

      • 0 avatar
        shaker

        The Can-Am is a “road-going snowmobile”, which requires a lot of muscular strength to maintain your position in the saddle while making turns – I don’t think a lot of people know this. Leaning standard motorcycle (or even a bicycle) will keep you in the saddle with little additional effort.

        When you drive a regular car, you probably don’t realize that you’re subconsciously using the steering wheel, armrests, center console, etc. to maintain your body position while negotiating curves – the Elio would need these “soft points” (as well as a reasonably bolstered seat) to not be a fatiguing vehicle to drive.

        • 0 avatar
          Kenmore

          Interesting point. I do remember having to alternate between aching wrists and aching back on long rides until I discovered cruisers. Then the work was all done by shoulders and upper arms. Much more comfortable.

          But watching the accident-avoidance slalom test on the Elio, I didn’t see an enormous amount of body lean. I think the average amount of lateral and some lumbar support would suit me and my granny driving style.

  • avatar
    shaker

    I can’t see it happening. This “car” looks great, has FWD, auto tranny, climate controls, some crash-worthiness and keeps the rain off.

    All for the same price I paid for my new (left-over) 2005 Kawasaki Z750S in 2006 (?)

    If this is sold, it will probably generate a tiny profit @ 10,000 retail. It will also likely be a dangerous vehicle (only having 55hp) to attempt an Interstate-On-Ramp-Boogie trying to merge with Escalades and semi-trailers @ 70mph.

    That said, if this can be done, say for $8,000, it might stand a chance, and could make a dent in our nation’s fuel consumption, which would make it a positive achievement.

    • 0 avatar
      FlatFenders

      Shaker, don’t try and talk them into raising the price, ok? You’d be very surprised if you new what the actual manufacturing costs are on every car you have ever driven. The only difference between a Ford Fiesta and a Cadillac is the amount of raw materials used, steel, plastic, etc. The difference in labor to build both is minimal. Nothing to justify a $40,000 difference on the sticker.

      • 0 avatar
        shaker

        I hope they do pull it off, but I also hope that they pay the factory workers a living wage as well – somewhere, something has to give, and I think wages would be the target.

        Edit: To clarify: If the people who assemble this car have to utilize food stamps, or the Earned Income Tax Credit, then it is partially a government-subsidized vehicle; some here rail against EV’s for that reason.

  • avatar
    This Is Dawg

    Thanks for the writeup, RS. As much as I want them to succeed I can’t shake the sense that it won’t work out. Fingers crossed!

  • avatar
    azdesertrat

    Love to have one, but if you put down a reservation deposit, can they file for bankruptcy and walk with millions of dollars…I’m a pessimist I guess.

  • avatar
    arthurk45

    About the nuttiest, most illogical thing I’ve heard is the claim that Elio is a sham. Perhaps those who claim it may be will kindly explain what the scam is all about and how anyone can profit by it? Paul Elio has done a job that has impressed me greatly. He has come up with a revolutionary yet extemely practical concept, a very odd and seldom-ocurring thing in this world. I also did some quick research and discovered something that I found rather shocking – the Elio will emit 3.7 ounces of CO2 per mile on the highway, while the Tesla Model S will emit, at the power plant providing its electricity, 11 ounces per mile, or 3 times as much. And, what’s more, considering the carbon footprint of solar panels, it will be responsible for more emissions even if its electricity comes from solar panels at the Tesla owner’s house. What’s more, an Elio will reduce gasoline consumption more than the Tesla vehicle as well. Per dollar spent, the Elio probably reduces 30 times more emissions than the Tesla Model S. You are hereby granted permission to write Elon Musk a lovely letter, pointing out what a wonderful job his company is doing cleaning up the atmosphere and reducing our dependence upon foreign oil (sarcasm unbounded).


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