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IKEA has announced that it will sell a bicycle with an optional trailer. The unisex Sladda bike is fully adjustable, accommodating riders as young as 12 years of age. It uses a rustproof belt in place of a chain, and the gears are encased in the rear hub to protect them from the elements. Its aluminum frame means it's light enough to carry up a flight of stairs. It will be customizable, with a "click system" for attaching accessories – perhaps even from third parties. There's no set release date for the Sladda bike in North America, but it's priced at €699 (about $791) for Europe. Read more from Treehugger.

The EPA has named Toyota as an Energy Star Partner of the Year for the 12th year in a row. Toyota says its North American facilities have reduced energy usage by 35 percent since 2002, saving over 16 billion kWh of energy and $640 million. That's enough to power almost a million homes for a year, and is comparable to removing the emissions from almost 2.3 million passenger vehicles for a year. Some measures Toyota took to save energy include more efficient lighting and HVAC controls at its facilities, and using natural gas steam turbines with heat recovery systems. Read more from Toyota.

Elio Motors has released the final interior design of its three-wheeled, 84-mpg car. Elio says the interior will be customizable, and is designed to accommodate users of all sizes, with a median occupant size of a 6'1" person weighing about 220 pounds. David Spykerman, Elio's Interior Trim Product Development Team leader, says that much of the interior architecture uses industry standards in order to ensure familiarity, keep costs low, and avoid obsolescence. Read more in the press release below.

  • Image Credit: Copyright 2015 Sebastian Blanco / AOL
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2015 Sebastian Blanco / AOL
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2015 Sebastian Blanco / AOL
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2015 Sebastian Blanco / AOL
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2015 Sebastian Blanco / AOL
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2015 Sebastian Blanco / AOL
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2015 Sebastian Blanco / AOL
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2015 Sebastian Blanco / AOL
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2015 Sebastian Blanco / AOL
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2015 Sebastian Blanco / AOL
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2015 Sebastian Blanco / AOL
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2015 Sebastian Blanco / AOL
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Elio Motors Completes Third of Four Key Engineering Milestones Prior to E-Series Prototype Vehicle Builds

Interior trim design incorporates flexibility to allow customization of driver environment that delivers familiarity, functionality, comfort

PHOENIX, April 14, 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 released the production design for the interior trim of its Elio vehicle. The Elio will encourage a significant level of owner customization, much of which will be focused on driver and passenger comfort, safety, convenience and entertainment.

"Our vision in developing the vehicle's interior has been to maximize excitement, while providing a high degree of functionality and customizability to enhance the driving experience. This is extremely obvious just from sitting in the vehicle's aircraft-like cockpit," said Paul Elio, founder and CEO of Elio Motors. "Getting the interior design of the Elio vehicle just right is very significant, since almost all of the driver's time is spent sitting in the cockpit, interacting with the controls and instruments by touch and by sight."

Elio said the design team captured the essence of the Elio's uniqueness, while making the vehicle's interior look and feel exciting and inviting, as well as functional. The Elio interior also accommodates a wide range of sizes -- from small to tall.

The release of the Interior Trim design will be incorporated into the build of its E-Series engineering prototypes, which will be used in crash-safety, aerodynamic wind-tunnel and manufacturability-validation testing. Results of the testing will be used to refine the vehicle design, prior to commercial production of the Elio.

"Because Elio fans come in all shapes and sizes, it was important for us to design in a height adjustment to accommodate drivers from four-foot eleven to potentially seven feet tall, though we focused on a median occupant size for either the front or back seat to be a 6'1" person weighing about 220 pounds," said David Spykerman, a partner in Genesis Concept and Design, and the team lead for the Interior Trim Product Development Team (PDT), which designed and engineered the vehicle's cockpit. "We also designed in familiarity, in the sense that the location and operation of the controls and major systems would be similar to traditional vehicles. While there are features of the Elio that are unique, we felt that where and how you turn on the lights or radio or how you open the trunk or activate the hazard flashers should not be a mystery."

Spykerman said that the Interior Trim PDT followed the Elio Motors supplier engagement process in working directly with each other on a daily basis to efficiently brainstorm, review and approve engineering changes to help Elio Motors achieve its cost and quality targets. He said that this has been a major contributor to reducing development time compared to the traditional product development process.

The Interior Trim PDT includes:

• Genesis Concept and Design of Phoenix, which is responsible for product design, styling and human factors for trim and components
• Mayco International of Sterling Heights, Mich., which engineered the instrument panel and hard trim
• Howa USA of Novi, Mich., which was responsible for headliner development
• Red Dot Corp., of Valley View, Ohio, which engineered the vehicle's HVAC system.

Spykerman said a key design tenet in the interior's development has been the use of existing automotive architecture, where possible. For example, components such as the air vents, HVAC controls, radio head unit and speaker mounts, as well as headlight, turn signal and other switches, follow industry-standard conventions for design, mounting and attachment. This not only keeps cost down, but it also facilitates swapability in upgrading certain vehicle components to avoid obsolescence.

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