ELIO affordable efficient Transportation

I do like this guys thinking and resolution to get something roling into the right direction.
ut I am not sure it’ll work.
Why does it have to be that cheap and look the part? The decision to use available and proven
parts (80%) make it look dated, already. We have cars with comparable diesel mileage
over here, but those are 3 times the price. Will the market really open up that much better if you
forgoe a nice design and better package for price?

Till now well to do people buy those tiny, frugal cars as fashion accessory. Will “poor” people buy an Elio
and save? Will they be able to buy it?

How do you american guys feel about this and the converted Hummer plant behind it? (250 Million invested)


No. Why would you? The used car market is filled with amazing cars for $6800 or less. There are currently 21 TDI Golf/Rabbits available for less than $7000. Those things get close to 50mpg if not 60. And, they can carry 4 people!

They’re less to insure, less to repair.

I don’t buy the Elio concept as anything other than eco-accessory to someone who wants to make a statement about their eco-consciousness. The re-purposed Hummer factory only adds fuel to that fire. “Look! We’re making ultra-small, ultra-efficient vehicles from a factory that used to make the antithesis of the Elio!” Even though most of the Hummer models sold were based on the Chevy Suburban/Silverado models that are still in production today…

There will always be a place for the cheapest car available. Makes it perfect for pizza delivery and couriers. This is $6800, the cheapest car last year was almost $13,000 base price.

Diesel is not always available in the US. Also, civilians (not us) still have a negative view of diesel.

Is it worth $250 million invested (I doubt it hit that number)? Probably not. Very niche.

Cool car though.

Good call. Pizza delivery.

Along with quite possibly the worst pizza I’ve ever eaten, delivery drivers for Galactic Pizza in Minneapolis are force do drive these little cars, as well as dress up like super-heros.

I don’t know why anybody buys new cars really. Fuel efficiency aside, you can always get a better used car then new for the same price. And IMHO, better looking if you dig a bit.

The Elio concept I suppose has merits for people like students who just need transportation and don’t need something fancy, are pinching pennies, live too far for public transit, etc.

It looks half decent, not my cup of tea, but not any worse than half the cars on the road, especially in the lower price points.


I spoke to a couple of Elio folks at trade show earlier this summer. They had brought along the previous iteration of their prototype and were inviting everyone to take a seat, try it on. Cockpit looked and felt like it was assembled from outdated, off the shelf parts, but totally serviceable as a functional prototype.

If I were in the market for strictly commuter vehicle, the 3 wheels would get me into the HOV lane and cut my commute time in half, but I use my vehicle for many other things as well as commuting.

I agree about the used car market. I mean, I’m just as excited about a new car design and technology as the next guy, but as far as it goes for getting one place to another, give me something that doesn’t require too much maintenance and has decent storage space in the boot and I’m pretty much set. Of course if you’re going to throw a luxury car or sports vehicle at me, I’m not going to say no, but you’ve still got to be practical within limits and get things done when you can’t afford some model like that!

A car-moped? Single seater, super cheap, great fuel efficiency, but protected from the elements and you don’t need to wear a helmet. Might work better where scooters are more popular. I’ve seen a few of these sorts of things around, which solve all the problems except for helmet wearing:

My university produced this:
which went around the world in 2010 on $400 of electricity

What’s wrong with wearing a helmet? I would wear mine in the car if it was socially acceptable.

Chicks dig helmets…they think you have a motorcycle. Just don’t let them see you get on the fancy trike. :wink:

My hair! My beautiful hair!

While you will have wear a helmet in the Elio here in California, you won’t have to in Texas, or Virginia. The Lone Stare state will not allow it, or Bombardier Slingshots, Morgan Three wheelers, CanAm Spyders, or any other three-wheel vehicle to be registered as a “motorcycle” EXCEPT for motorcycles fitted with a sidecar.

See BMW Owner of America discussion > Texas Reportedly Says No Polaris Slingshots

These “things” are starting to show up everywhere. But they’re all in the 100+hp class, not exactly the Elio’s niche. And I don’t think any of them could be classified as “elegant” design.

Tanom Motors Invader

Campagna Motors T-Rex
The saddlebags look ridiculous… … imo.

Polaris Slingshot
Apparently they neglected to consider that some of their owners might like to travel with an extra pair of underwear and socks; Polaris doesn’t even address the problem.

And that third wheel sure restricts access, at least here in California, and elsewhere, where “lane splitting” is legal. Even technically registered as a “motorcycle” an operator would be cited lane splitting with a three-wheeler.

Safety-wise, I don’t think there would be much difference between any of the above, including the Elio, and a two-wheel motorcycle.

I just don’t get the pricing. $26k for the Slingshot? Ouch. I’d rather a Miata.

I just don’t get the pricing. $26k for the Slingshot?

Me neither. But $29Large is chump change when it comes to toys.

The “new” Morgan 3-Wheeler base price is $55K, and fully “customized” tops $88K And from what I’ve read, even though powered with less motor than the others, it is the best performer from a power/weight/balance point of view. I’ll never know.

From the Elio website:

Is Elio a car or a motorcycle?
According to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) “Motorcycle” means a motor vehicle with motive power having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground. So if it is less than four wheels it is a motorcycle. > But what do you see when you look at the Elio? Fully enclosed, power windows, wiper blades, steering wheel, gas and brake pedals… you be the judge.

Tell it to the CHP.

I added the color emphasis. I think this is a very misleading statement. In California, if it has three wheels it is a “motorcycle”. As such, the operator is required to wear a helmet … which Elio disclaims (see map below). I’m sure Elio must be aware of this if they have attempted to sell one of their vehicles here.

To operate a motorcycle in California you must pass both a written, and practical skills riding test (administered at the DMV) to prove that you can safely operate a motorcycle. This “skills” riding test must be taken on a two-wheeled motorcycle - why? Because the “M” endorsement is for all types of motorcycles, including three-wheelers and motorcycles fitted with side cars.

You may recall a few years ago (2006) that our former Governator, Arnold Schwarzenegger, following an accident while riding his Harley-sidecar rig, was cited for illegally operating a motor vehicle without the proper endorsement. When a staff aide was questioned, her response was that she believed that only a basic “C” class license was required to operate a motorcycle with sidecar attached… .

See> Schwarzenegger rode motorcycle illegally

From the Elio website:

Does my state law require me to wear a helmet?

Most of them do not. Please take a look at the PDF here for your current state laws.

What is misleading is that this map has been modified to indicate that helmet use is not required in California, along with nineteen other states, and the District of Columbia. In fact, these States are governed by what is called the “universal helmet law” which does require helmet use while operating a motorcycle. I would also point out that the States of Illinois and Iowa do not require helmet use (Elio indicates that they do).

See > Motorcycles

Not to put too much of a point on it… … . :sunglasses: