• Image Credit: Elio Motors
  • Image Credit: Elio Motors
  • Image Credit: Elio Motors
  • Image Credit: Elio Motors
  • Image Credit: Elio Motors
  • Image Credit: Elio Motors
  • Image Credit: Elio Motors
  • Image Credit: Elio Motors
  • Image Credit: Elio Motors
  • Image Credit: Elio Motors
Elio Motors has unveiled the new design for its super-fuel-efficient three-wheeled commuter car, and we're already liking the covered-wheel effect. The company's new version was shown off in a lovely shade of orange, and if that color is a nod to the Denver Broncos and their upcoming appearance in the Super Bowl, we'll be really impressed.

Earlier this month, the company said that it had secured (with the help of local government agencies) the former General Motors Shreveport Assembly and Stamping Plant from RACER Trust (Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response Trust) for its new Louisiana factory, and that production may begin as soon as early next year. The vehicle, said to get 84 miles per gallon, will be priced at $6,800. A 1.0-liter, three-cylinder engine will provide 70 horsepower, giving the vehicle a 0-60 mpg time of less than 10 seconds. And the eight-gallon tank will give the car lots of range to roam.

In December, the Michigan-based company started taking $100-deposits for the vehicle on its website, and about 6,300 folks had signed up as of the end of the year. Elio expects to employ about 1,500 people at its Louisiana plant, and the time is coming close when we will see if this is an accurate number.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 96 Comments
      mylexicon
      • 1 Year Ago
      Elio should spend more time explaining the finances, imo. If you commute in a 30mpg vehicle, the Elio will pay for itself in about 6 years, assuming $3.30; 12K miles, $2,500 residual. If you commute in a 20mpg vehicle, the the Elio will pay for itself in a little over 3 years. Normally, we calculate payback for the cost of additional fuel saving equipment. The entire car is basically free, after 5 years. That's nuts. Free car. Better environment. Much better economy. It's almost too good to true. The sticky wicket is motorcycle licensing and helmet laws. The mileage claims are interesting, as well. The mule was said to have mpg around 84mpg, but it had wide tires, open wheels, exposed suspension rods, and side pods for the headlights. This prototype has much better aerodynamics. Maybe I'm being hopelessly optimistic, but I think they are pushing for 100mpg on the down low.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mylexicon
        I think they changed the design because they were unable to get the gas mileage with the mule. ,Even with the new prototype they say they are still about 3-4mpg from the 84, which kind of sucks , I was very excited about the mule P3 , now the p4 is just ugly , minus the nice rims and the big goofy wheel covers, add to that the fact that they keep pushing the date back, they are starting to lose people on there site. its gotten to the point that elio is removing people from facebook if they call them on these issues.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mylexicon
        Oh yes. Those factors can sell the 'car' alone. Same thing with an ebike. The insurance cost and gas cost for a car for a year buys you an electric bike which has a running cost of less than 1/30th of a gasoline car. And imagine what a loan on a car costs per month VS. a compact 4 wheeler as-is. It's half of what the loan would cost for a car twice the price. Lower income people could afford a new car much easier.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Sign me up! Will go to the site. American made, good gas economy, cool!!
      methos1999
      • 1 Year Ago
      For the price, it may be my next commuter pod!
      danfred311
      • 1 Year Ago
      I think the engine is too big for such a vehicle and it's actually pretty impressive they can do it for that price. It might sell ok with the ICE but I feel they need an electric version for it to be interesting. Maybe 8kWh laptop cells for 1600$. Maybe draw 16kW from CHAdeMO or SAE for a 20 minute charge. Keep it under 9000$. That could work. Maybe a 13kWh pack version as well for 10500$. 13kWh might give such a vehicle a fairly significant range. Basically drive for free.
        EZEE2
        • 1 Year Ago
        @danfred311
        I had not thought about it, but the engine is a bit large. Remember, Ford has a 1 liter in the fiesta, and that car is far heavier than this. Also, many two cylinder motorcycle engines develop enough torque for two people. Now if this engine was designed to be cheap, have mileage, and reliability so this car would get produced, then fine. But it does seem a little big for this car. And yes....the electric should be interesting. Dan's theory on battery and engine size will be out to the test.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 1 Year Ago
        @danfred311
        I could see tons of DIYers hooking up fat motor setups to this thing.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 1 Year Ago
        @danfred311
        A 1 liter motor is useful for when you need to carry two fat Americans and not have the car bog down to a crawl. It may be very aerodynamic, but when it has to pull weight, you either need some extra displacement, or a more expensive small engine with direct injection and turbo. You can do it either way. But the sorta low tech 1 liter engine is cheap to buy and cheap to maintain. It helps keep the price down and the profit margin large enough for the company to make a little money so that they can build better things in the future. For now, they need to win on price. What would satisfy me and you is if they sold a rolling car kit without the internal combustion engine components. Just a driveshaft coming out of the transmission and electrical hookups. That'd be real cool.
      SprinterMatt
      • 1 Year Ago
      it only has one door, right? I'm thinking you could put an ingenious side mounted bike rack on this thing behind the right fender (no longer the passenger side) sorta like a sidecar... except... simply for bike mounting. Would make it hella easy to load and unload your pedal pusher.
      Jeff Gilleran
      • 1 Year Ago
      Wording error: The Elio cost is planned to cost as much as a Metro did in 1989, with less content. The Geo Metro had no AC, power windows, locks or mirrors. The Elio does, and gets substantially better fuel economy, and does sub 10 second 0-60's. I call that real progress.
      danfred311
      • 1 Year Ago
      Looks pretty good except for the front half of the nose. It's important to get that right. Appearance is huge.
        EZEE2
        • 1 Year Ago
        @danfred311
        And I was going to do a Happy Dan review....
          danfred311
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EZEE2
          Save it for when I'm banned again :) And pay attention, your reviews haven't always been accurate :)
          danfred311
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EZEE2
          Ezee, 200$/kWh battery and subtract 2000$ for the combustion engine for a normal car. Or you can just add the battery cost and say the rest of EV electronics is paid for by the ICE parts. That's plenty generous. If it costs substantially more than that you can know it's overpriced. As for aero, if it doesn't have rear wheel covers and flat bottom you can be sure they didn't bother with aero. Cd below 0.2 is easy enough if you actually try. They never do. Small car can weigh 600kg, large car no more than 100. Much more and they are doing it wrong. Audi A2 was a perfectly normal car and it weighed 900kg. So BMW i3 is doing it wrong at 1250kg with carbon fiber. Amateurs convert Audi A2s to electric drive and end up at much less than i3. A good way to have great insight is to know what has been achieved in the past. That way you can skip a complex engineering analysis to figure out how much a car should weigh. Judge them relatively. Saying batteries are heavy is an easy lie. Batteries weigh as little as 235Wh/kg or 4.25kg/kWh. So the 16kWh in an iMiev doesn't have to weigh more than 68kg. That's infinitely more insightful than an idiot saying 'batteries are heavy'. And light weight is a self fulfilling prophecy. If the car is light it needs less battery for the same range. If it's light it needs smaller brakes that weigh less. Lighter tires. Less wear. Just aiming for light gives you light. The idiots use carbon fiber and they achieve heavy.
          EZEE2
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EZEE2
          I stick by the sacred principles, but, how to apply the principles is the difficult part. How light weight? How aero? What is good performance. Obviously EV only. How cheap? The interpretations where it can get gummed up.
          EVnerdGene
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EZEE2
          Yeah EZEE, You should leave it to Dan.
      thecommentator2013
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'd buy one. Without hesitation.
      Dave
      • 1 Year Ago
      I was wondering how this compared to the cheapest car I could think of - a Yugo. http://auto.blog.rs/gallery/108/yugo%203990.jpg "What cost $3990 in 1986 would cost $8223.16 in 2012. " http://www.westegg.com/inflation/ Amazingly, at $6,800, this would be cheaper than a Yugo, even though it has fuel injection and modern emission controls and safety systems. (I suppose they save quite a bit on shipping versus the Yugo, of course)
        tump
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Dave
        The Yugo was built for much less and a lot of that money went to corruption funding and not into the cars themselves. But good point!
        Ryan
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Dave
        I think $3990 would be too much for this 'car'. Get a fourth wheel and a plug and I might consider it.
        mylexicon
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Dave
        That's how capitalism is supposed to work. Unfortunately, politically-sanctioned industrial oligopolies don't really function like open-market capitalism.
      JB
      • 1 Year Ago
      Why not electric?
        Neil Blanchard
        • 1 Year Ago
        @JB
        That may well be in their plans? And/or a hybrid, possibly? An EV version of the Elio vehicle, would be a different animal. The Cg is even more critical, and the cost would be higher, in all likelihood.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @JB
        JB - Elio is using all known, successful technology and easily available parts. Nothing is left to chance or experiments. This is why it is so inexpensive.
          2 wheeled menace
          • 1 Year Ago
          Electric is not unproven or an experiment. He is going for high value, not refinement. I am sure they could do an electric version later.
          Ziv
          • 1 Year Ago
          W, you took the words right out of my mouth. Keep it simple, keep it cheap, build a bunch and then, later, offer more expensive options like more horsepower or an EV option. I think they will come in closer to $8,000, but even there, it is going to be a very cool vehicle.
          JB
          • 1 Year Ago
          Well good luck to them. I like this configuration, and there has been many concepts like it, but none have made it to production or have died off. The Sparrow and the Aptera come to mind.
      • 1 Year Ago
      To answer some of the questions ... it is not the Ford 3 cylinder but one they have had custom designed - see their website for details and pictures of the new motor. Also, the performance figures are accurate but this custom motor is only 55 hp to achieve both the 0-60 in less than 10 seconds plus the 84 mpg. Their basic premise is to first get the car to market as reasonably priced as possible then they can add other potential things later like more HP or other drive trains like electric if there is demand. But first step is to get it out there and established as a dependable vehicle . That means they use existing off the shelf components from current automotive industry suppliers as much as possible. This reasonable approach is very smart and is what makes it more likely they have accurate estimates to meet price points. This is a group of auto engineers working backwards from well known tech and equipment, not some guy that designed it in his garage and has no idea what true production costs will be and thus way underestimates them, as frequently happens with start-ups. Elio has a sound business model. Been following them for about a year now, have a deposit down. Even got to sit in the previous silver test mule and found it much larger inside then expected - 6'8" guys will have no issues with headroom. This is what the country needs but has not really been offered. Inexpensive, efficient single occupancy commuter vehicle that most can afford. It will give people more spending money in fuel savings, and reduce our dependence on fossil fuel.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Looks like a bug eyed goldfish, The P3 looked really cool, this P4 looks cheap, looks like something a teenage girl might want. They had nice rims on the P3 and they paraded that car around for almost 2 years. Now they made cool into a clumsy looking mess and they are starting to take away the things that they said the car would have(i.e the nice rims) now there saying you can do all that aftermarket ....the old bait and switch game
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