Elio's new ePlus ordering system gets personal

Don't want a particular feature? Don't get it.

Elio P5
  • Elio P5
  • Elio P5
  • Image Credit: Elio Motors
  • Elio P5
  • Elio P5
  • Elio P5
  • Elio P5
During the Detroit Auto Show, Elio Motors CEO Paul Elio described a little bit about how his small company would be able to deliver its relatively inexpensive ($6,800), high-fuel-economy (up to 84 mpg) trike. Once the Louisiana manufacturing center gets up and running and Elio's stores start to turn the 50,000+ pre-orders into specific vehicle builds and new orders. He said in January that:

The process is, you come into our showroom and say you want the red automatic with the leather seat and the blind-spot detection mirrors. That goes off to one of our seven marshaling centers. We close our stores at 9 p.m. and we build our vehicles until midnight, so we have three hours to clear the system. At midnight, those vehicles go on trucks and with seven marshaling centers, we're within nine hours of all of our stores. So, theoretically, at 10 a.m. the next day, you get the vehicle exactly the way you wanted it the day before, no matter what time you came into the showroom.

During the New York Auto Show this past week, Elio expanded on the method it will use to both personalize each trike and keep costs low. The system is called ePlus and it's basically a rejection of the trim/package method that most big OEMs use. Traditionally, to get the nav system you want that's part of the "premium" package, you'd also end up with the all-around cameras and adaptive cruise control that are included. You don't need those features but you've paid for them. With ePlus, you can get each feature that Elio will offer independent of everything else.

Or take the exterior color, for example. There will be seven standard paint colors - Marshmallow, Rocket Silver, Red Hot, Creamsicle, Sour Apple, True Blue, and Licorice – and if this little rainbow isn't enough, then you can get your trike wrapped by one of two different companies to look like anything you want, Elio told AutoblogGreen last week.

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Elio Motors Unveils ePlus Mass Personalization Program

ePlus plan Shatters Auto Industry Options Packaging Traditions, Delivers Customer Choice, Mass Personalization at the Vehicle Manufacturing level.

NEW YORK, March 24, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Elio Motors, Inc. (OTCQX: ELIO), the startup vehicle manufacturer planning to launch a three-wheeled vehicle that will get up to 84 MPG with a targeted base price of $6,800, today unveiled plans for ePlus: My Elio My Way, a mass personalization plan that will allow customers to choose – and pay for – only the options they want and need.

Traditionally, auto manufacturer options plans force customers to pay for options they don't want.

The vision of ePlus is simple. Deliver a well-equipped base model, but provide customers the capability to personalize the vehicle with options based on their own unique driver experience. In addition, the customer will be able to add to their vehicle through a personalized website called as new options are brought to market by Elio Motors' supplier network.

The ePlus system will mimic the smart phone industry, where customers purchase a base phone, and continually add Apps to customize their user experience.

"The current options system is broken at many levels," said Elio Motors founder and CEO, Paul Elio. "Traditionally if a customer wants one particular option, they have to accept three or four other options as part of the package, and that seriously limits customer choice and drives up cost to the customer. Much of the technology forced on customers, such as navigation or media equipment becomes antiquated in six months or less."

The ePlus system also will encourage automotive suppliers to bring new options and technology to market, much like app developers create new tools for smart phones.

"Suppliers all over the globe have created really cool content for vehicles that never see the light of day because of an antiquated packaging system and we want to change that," Elio said. "Our ePlus system will help our suppliers unleash their entrepreneurial capabilities, which are often stifled under the current system."

The idea for ePlus comes from Elio Motors' philosophy to always do what's best for its customers. The company will provide a well-equipped base model, but wants to make sure its customers only pay for options they truly want. It was inspired by Paul Elio's own experience when he had to accept a lighted vanity mirror on the sun visor as part of an option package if he wanted to purchase a vehicle with leather seats. Why? Because the lighted vanity mirror was part of the package the manufacturer forced on its customers. The package as a whole cost more than the leather seats would cost individually.

While ePlus is an important technology system for ordering options, its value extends beyond the consumer purchase. It is a system that connects consumer opinions, needs and wants with manufacturing, supply and delivery. Through constant communication with its customer base, Elio Motors will be able to provide its supplier network with information about which options are most in demand. This will help the entire network with available content, inventory planning and product development by basing decisions on real-world data.

"Our ePlus system connects the entire supply chain to the end consumer, which is a tremendous value to our customers and our supplier partners, plus it is a continuous revenue stream for the entire network," Elio said. "Much like app development for smart phones spurred new innovations, ePlus will allow our suppliers to continuously develop new options based on true customer demand. These options will be available to our customers, who can provide feedback to our suppliers before they roll out products to the rest of the industry, creating a continuous feedback loop where everyone benefits."

About Elio Motors
Founded by car enthusiast Paul Elio in 2009, Elio Motors Inc. represents a revolutionary approach to manufacturing an ultra-high-mileage vehicle. The three-wheeled Elio is engineered to attain a highway mileage rating of up to 84 mpg, while providing the comfort of amenities such as power windows, power door lock and air conditioning accompanied by the safety of multiple air bags and an aerodynamic, enclosed vehicle body. Elio's first manufacturing site will be in Shreveport, Louisiana.

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