User Login    
 + Register
News : Three-Wheeled Elio Gets Closer To Going On Sale
Posted by Randy on 2014/8/15 4:21:29 (264 reads) News by the same author

ROYAL OAK, Mich. (AP) -- Your next commuter car could have two seats, three wheels and get 84 miles to the gallon.
Click to see original Image in a new window

Elio Motors wants to revolutionize U.S. roads with its tiny car, which is the same length as a Honda Fit but half the weight. With a starting price of $6,800, it's also less than half the cost.

Phoenix-based Elio plans to start making the cars next fall at a former General Motors plant in Shreveport, Louisiana. Already, more than 27,000 people have reserved one. Elio hopes to make 250,000 cars a year by 2016. That's close to the number Mazda sells in the U.S.

Because it has three wheels - two in front and one in the rear - the Elio is actually classified as a motorcycle by the U.S. government. But Elio Motors founder Paul Elio says the vehicle has all the safety features of a car, like anti-lock brakes, front and side air bags and a steel cage that surrounds the occupants. Drivers won't be required to wear helmets or have motorcycle licenses.

The Elio's two seats sit front and back instead of side by side, so the driver is positioned in the center with the passenger directly behind. That arrangement, plus the low seating position - the Elio is just 54 inches tall - and the lack of power steering take a little getting used to.

But after a couple of spins around the block in this Detroit suburb, it felt like any other small car. That's partly because its two front wheels stick out by a foot on both sides, aiding balance and preventing the vehicle from tipping. The Elio has a three-cylinder, 0.9-liter engine and a top speed of more than 100 miles per hour. It gets an estimated 84 mpg on the highway and 49 mpg in city driving.

Elio keeps the costs down in several ways. The car only has one door, on the left side, which shaves a few hundred dollars off the manufacturing costs. Having three wheels also makes it cheaper. It will be offered in just two configurations - with a manual or automatic transmission - and it has standard air conditioning, power windows and door locks and an AM/FM radio. More features, such as navigation or blind-spot detection, can be ordered through Elio's long list of suppliers.

Germany's Daimler also promised to revolutionize American commutes with the Smart car, but that hasn't panned out, says Karl Brauer, a senior analyst with Kelley Blue Book. Smart sold just 9,264 cars in the U.S. last year.

The Smart has a starting price of $13,270 for a gas-powered car and gets 38 mpg on the highway - not enough savings or fuel economy to justify sacrificing comfort in the tiny car. But, Brauer said, the equation might work in the Elio.

"If it really gets 84 mpg and doesn't drive terribly, it would justify the compromises you're making in size and comfort," he said.

Elio will also save money by selling the cars directly through its own stores and not through franchised dealers, similar to electric car maker Tesla Motors. Elio plans stores in 60 major metropolitan areas. They'll be serviced by car repair chain Pep Boys.

Paul Elio, a one-time stockbroker and New York City cab driver, dreamed as a kid that he would one day own a car company called Elio Motors.

"As I matured I decided that was as likely as playing in the NFL," Elio told The Associated Press. But he did earn an engineering degree at General Motors Institute - now Kettering University - and started his own company engineering products like children's car seats.

In 2008, tired of high gas prices and the country's dependence on foreign oil, he started working on a fuel-efficient car. Equally important to him was creating U.S. manufacturing jobs and making the car inexpensive enough to appeal to buyers who might otherwise be stuck in old, unreliable clunkers.

"Whatever matters to you, this can move the needle on it," he said.

The recession killed his engineering company, but it also provided the opportunity to buy the Shreveport plant when GM filed for bankruptcy protection. Elio Motors plans to employ 1,500 people at the plant.

The company has also applied for a $185 million advanced vehicle development loan from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Paul Elio said so far, reservation holders are older, more affluent buyers who will use the Elio as a second or third car for commuting.

"It's an `and' purchase for a lot of folks," he said. "So keep your SUV or your minivan or your large sedan, and when you're driving back and forth to work all by yourself, take the Elio. At this price point and this mileage, that works financially for folks."

Eventually, though, he believes the car will appeal to high school and college students as well as used-car drivers who want something newer and more reliable. He also hopes to eventually export it to other countries.

Printer Friendly Page Send this Story to a Friend Create a PDF from the article


Other articles
2015/5/27 5:37:33 - Public Input Sought For Poosey Conservation Area Plan
2015/5/27 4:28:16 - Remains of Man Missing More Than 20 Years Found In Submerged Car
2015/5/27 4:12:43 - Missouri Man Dies After Being Bitten In Both Legs By Snake
2015/5/26 5:42:17 - Two Injured In ATV Accident
2015/5/26 4:21:12 - Inmate Sentenced To Life In Prison May Be Free Man This Summer
2015/5/26 4:07:52 - Police: 3 Children Hurt When Water Spout Uproots Bounce House
2015/5/25 5:57:00 - 10 Historical Facts About Memorial Day
2015/5/25 5:46:10 - Forgotten For Decades, Fallen NY Soldier Is Finally Honored
2015/5/22 17:55:36 - Woman Found Pushing Dead 3-Year-Old Son in Swing
2015/5/21 14:21:21 - NCMC Foundation Presents "Salute Awards"
2015/5/21 11:35:05 - Marshall Man, Accused Of Shooting At Police, Captured In Alabama
2015/5/21 11:25:26 - Police Surround Home Of Suspected Murderer In Sedalia
2015/5/21 10:20:00 - Daily Room Rate At Sunnyview Increases By Eight Dollars
2015/5/21 10:20:00 - Milling Work Scheduled To Begin Next Week In Trenton
2015/5/21 10:10:04 - Kansas Truck Driver Injured In U.S. 36 Accident
2015/5/21 10:07:54 - Putnam County Teens Injured In Late Night Accident
2015/5/21 10:00:00 - AP : Suddenlink Sold To European Company
2015/5/21 10:00:00 - Local Bank Purchases Tax Credits, In Hopes Of Improving Trenton's Downtown
2015/5/21 9:47:51 - Efforts Underway To Repair Lawn Damage At Grundy County Courthouse
2015/5/20 10:55:08 - Area Organizations Plan To Distribute Money-Saving Light Bulbs
2015/5/20 10:47:05 - Gallatin Library Receives $5,628 Grant
2015/5/20 10:00:00 - Area Rivals Tie For 3rd At Class 1 Boys Golf Tournament
2015/5/20 9:10:00 - Trenton High School Announces "Underclassman Awards"
2015/5/19 11:31:12 - Grundy County Commission Will Not Adopt Health Ordinance
2015/5/19 11:27:03 - Trenton Middle School Announces End-Of-Year Awards/Honors
2015/5/19 10:20:00 - Roadwork Planned For Highway 6, East Of Trenton
2015/5/19 10:02:11 - Missouri Farm Bureau Sponsors Photo Contest
2015/5/19 9:53:21 - Caldwell County Fairgrounds In Facebook Competition For Grant Money
2015/5/19 9:44:00 - Special Olympics "Torch Runs" Planned For Area Communities
2015/5/19 9:34:19 - Simpson Park To Host Darin Bryan Memorial Day Race



Bookmark this article at these sites

                   

Events Today
Listen to KTTN-FM