Knowing Roush's history with Ford, we think there's a good chance that Elio is going to use something from the Blue Oval's lineup. Elio claims that, "this powertrain will also greatly enhance the Elio's performance by nearly doubling its horsepower while still maintaining class-leading fuel economy at an affordable ultra-low price."
For reference, Elio's original 0.9-liter three-cylinder was projected to make 55 horsepower and 55 pound-feet of torque. Zero to 60 was slated to arrive in 10.8 seconds and fuel economy was estimated at 49 mpg in the city and 84 mpg on the highway. We could expect around 100 horsepower now if what Elio says is true. How it'll manage to get the same fuel economy with double the power will be an interesting story to follow if the car ever does get built.
Elio's press release also claims that this move will save it $120 million and expedite the car's timeframe. That's some interesting thinking to assume that introducing a new engine this late in the game will save both time and money.
So which engine do we think it might be? Ford currently makes a 99-horsepower version of its three-cylinder turbocharged engine for the global market. We bet that's close enough to Elio's claims for power, but getting it to 84 mpg on the highway will be the trick.
Actually building the thing will be the biggest trick of them all, though. Elio has pushed its launch date back so many times that it's almost pointless to make any predictions. If the troubled company had decided to go this route from the beginning, we might actually have an Elio right now. As it stands, there's no telling when or if the promised car will ever see the light of day.