Elio Motors is going to be making a car. Well, it’s kind of a car. It’s actually classified as a motorcycle. It’s got 2 wheels in the front and one in the back.
So whats the big deal you ask? First, they are claiming 84 MPG! That’s better then most bikes, and this thing has A/C. All for under $7,000! I have been following these guys for awhile and until I went to see them today I had serious doubts about them coming in anywhere close to their claimed $6,800 price tag.
Elio Motors posted on Facebook that they were coming to Cleveland. It turned out that they were going to be about 30 minutes from my work, so I dipped out early and rode over to check it out. I was excited to see if I would fit inside the Elio. I didn’t sit in it…as I was walking up to the car there was a guy that was about 6’3″ and a bit over 300 pounds getting in it. He had tons of room!
Still having doubts about the final price I asked the Elio Rep a few questions about it. Basically the entire car besides the body and frame are straight off the parts shelf. Meaning, that the majority of the car is already made by other companies, so the R&D has already been done. The engine is a reverse engineered Geo Metro motor (1.0 liter three cylinder/ 70hp). They added a better fuel injection system and computer, but it’s mostly unchanged. All the maintenance items like brakes and filters are already available. There are only 400 part numbers for the whole car. The Elio rep said that most cars have over 4,000 part numbers.
He assured me that no part of the car is manufactured outside the US. My original thought was that the whole thing would be made overseas and assembled here. That is apparently not the case!
The other concern some people have is the safety of the “car”. I guess if you don’t already ride a motorcycle then that might matter to you. But they are claiming a 5 star rating. That is pretty impressive. It comes standard with three airbags, the Rep said that the airbags basically cocoon you when they deploy. Pretty cool!
According to the Rep it’s still unclear if this would require someone to have a motorcycle endorsement to drive it. Not a problem for most people reading this blog, but that means that it might require you to wear a helmet in some states! Granted, the police officer would have to be having a really bad day to write a ticket for not wearing your helmet inside a fully enclosed vehicle, and the judge would be a total dumbass to not throw it out of court, but it’s still something to think about. But if I had to wear a helmet in a car, then this would be the one…
If they are able to keep the price where it is, I’ll think I’ll get one of these and throw some studded snow tires on it. Perfect winter commuter.
In case anyone was wondering, the rear wheel has a single sided swing arm. I didn’t look at it, as the car I was looking at was just a prototype and who knows what was actually under there. It didn’t even have a windshield wiper!