Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The More I Hear, The More I Like...

In fact, I may even put a deposit down...

Fourth-gen Elio model gets 86-mpg trike closer to production
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.
Over 600 mile range on a tank of gas (and it will cost under $50 to fill the tank), you can drive it in the HOV lane, and it's under $7K? Sign me up. Looking at it, I might be able to get it in the garage with the Harley, as well. There's a lot of things to like about this car, even if it is rather funny looking:

Aesthetics aside, there's a lot to like, not the least of which is the mileage. Over 80 MPG means that I can get most of a week's commute out of two gallons of gas (whereas the Earthf**ker) needs more than 15 gallons a week. It's crazy easy to park, fits in ALL parking spots, and should be inexpensive to insure (motorcycles are generally less than automobiles). The only downside that I can see is that two neighboring states (WV and NC) will require a helmet to operate it on the roadways.

With a car that costs less than most used cars, keeping the Dodge will definitely be an option. It will still see use in the winter time and for any long haul trips with the family, although I'll have to see how many guns I can fit in the Elio for the Northeast Bloggershoot trek... The trunk area looks/sounds rather small (a carryon bag) so it's doubtful it will see much long range work.

I'd still prefer to take one out for a test drive first, which will hopefully be happening this year...

That is all.


Mopar said...

You know we put a deposit down on one months ago. Seriously considering buying two; his and hers. I actually liked the styling on the previous 3 gens better, it had more of a roadster/Plymouth Prowler look to the front end, but I understand the need to put aerodynamics over aesthetics.
Three points though.
First, even most states with helmet laws will exempt it because of the enclosed cockpit, and they are working on getting the laws changed in the states that don't.
Second, being front wheel drive, it will go just fine in a few inches of snow. It's slung pretty low to the ground so it's not going through a foot of the fluffy stuff, but that's not all that common where you are now.
Third, it's like a mini hatchback in that you can fold the back seat down and it opens into the "trunk" area. It easily fits a bag of golf clubs that way, so at least normal solo range trips should be doable.

Added bonus: While not a sports car, it should be damn fun to drive with the manual trans.

Mopar said...

Oh, and until NC and WV (2 of the only 5 states that still require a helmet in an Elio) get with the program, you can always just put a beanie helmet on. Not like ya really need it for protection in the elio (seatbelts and airbags) like on a real motorcycle.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

What does the driver look like when you rear end a bus in that?

Jay G said...


I'll be putting a deposit down shortly as well. I'm intrigued enough by the concept that I'm willing to put some skin in the game. As long as they can offer it around the price point they've announced and it's within ~ 20% of the efficiency claimed, I'm sold.

And yes, I saw that you can fold the seat down for extra carrying capacity. That's great for going to the range here, but I don't think I'd want to chance transporting long guns through MD/NJ/NY/CT/MA in an open back seat.


The Elio comes with convenient slots on the frame for the pallbearers to insert the carrier.

Siege said...

I've been keeping an eye on the Elio myself. I've been wanting something new and fun to drive, and the price and specs are right.

Got plans to build a better motorcycle too, but that'll have a slightly different role from the Elio and will probably be a bit before it's done.

Now I just need my motorcycle license.

Stretch said...

Just checked their website.
They don't make 'em in 44XL.

Phssthpok said...

Just imagine what MPG they could achieve if they had a small diesel engine in there.

Too bad the EPA won't allow small, fuel efficient Diesels to be soled in America.

Hafnhaf said...

cool! almost good enough to try if/when my 2000 honda insight craps out. although i plan to make it into an all-electric commuter.

lets see...
covered wheels - rear ones
84 mpg - well, how about rated at 70 on the road, but i average 76 year-round. best full tank: 82mpg
1.0 3 cylinder about 70 hp - check
loads of room for two plus a ton of luggage space - check
climate control - check
electric everything (except seats) - check
kick-azz stereo - ok, not the stock one (which sucked)
0-60 in 10.4 sec - check
0-70 in a few more seconds, in second gear - check
top speed from factory: 113, limited by the oem tires and programmed into the ecm. much faster if ecm patched, and with better tires.

still, its a step in the right direction. i like it!

Jay G said...

The Elio has the advantage of being classified as a motorcycle, which means both cheaper to insure and able to use the HOV lane for my morning commute. Plus it will fit in my garage *with* my Harley... :)

Daniel in Brookline said...

Looking forward to the review when you get to test-drive it, Jay!

Fred said...

I'm pretty interested too. My truck isn't quite a Ford Earthfucker, but it's damn close... Plus I'd be able to use it a lot more than a motorcycle up here in the arctic.

Marty said...

I want that. I would so test drive that and if the quality was not Yugo or HiPoint I would drive that for work.

Robert said...

Could have sworn the types with dual front wheels weren't motorcycles. At least, not requiring a motorcycle endorsement on your license.

Anonymous said...

Hi JayG, here via Peter. I commute, so the low price and high gas mileage are very tempting... But I live in Taxifornia and am therefore going to wait and see what the nanny state knuckleheads come up with by way of (over-) regulations, restrictions, and fees.

Also, I found another take on the Elio, this one not favorable. What do you think?

Billll said...

I got to sit in the prototype when it was here in Denver. They made several changes since. The "trunk" is now accessible from outside, the headlights are molded in, and there's still no windshield wiper.

At 900 lbs, the weight/horsepower ratio looks fairly sporty. Tack on a turbo and...

It has air bags and a full roll cadge so you'd probably survive the bus crash. For off-angle crashes, imagine being inside a soccer ball kicked inside a crowded room. Remember it's a motorcycle, not a car.

Jay G said...


The guy who wrote that op-ed is, shall we say, completely fucking clueless?

He knows nothing about automotive geometry, how motorcycles are insured, or pretty much anything else as far as I could tell...