Elio Motors is a brand new car manufacturer with a brand new car. The prototype is bright orange, has one door, three wheels and two seats. With 49 MPG in the city, 84 MPG on the highway and a $6,800 sticker price, the Elio is going to make driving a car far more affordable for many people. The real kicker, it will be made in the USA.
The founder and CEO is Paul Elio, an automotive engineer. His motivation was the American people who were struggling with keeping their tanks full and paying high prices for gasoline. The car is being marketed as an additional vehicle meant for commutes, but with that low price, people who cannot afford a car, let alone the gas to run one, will be a little more likely to be able to make the purchase.
The Elio will be built in Shreveport, Louisiana, at a plant that formerly belonged to General Motors, but was sloughed off during the company’s bankruptcy. Elio, with headquarters in Troy, Michigan, made a pledge to generate 1,500 jobs upon purchasing the automotive plant.
In a recent statement, Elio said that America is still the best country in which to build a complicated product like an automobile. He said that is because the infrastructure and labor force of skilled workers still exists. Elio wants to also prove that a truly affordable vehicle can be produced in the USA. According to Jerome Vassallo, vice president of sales, one of the ways the manufacturer is keeping the costs low is by using off-the-shelf parts that other car makers use. The engine will be built from their own parts.
Because the Elio has less than four wheels, it is technically classified as a motorcycle. In some states, that may mean that drivers of the Elio will need a motorcycle license. Also, Vassallo points out, motorcycle insurance is much cheaper than car insurance. Plus, there is the potential perk of being allowed to drive in the lane for carpools.
Elio Motors has engineered their car for a crash test safety rating of 5 stars. the spokesperson for the Department of Transportation, Kathryn Henry, said that the Elio will not be tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration because of the car/ motorcycle technicality. The company, however, is petitioning to be granted an exception. The safety features of the Elio will include three airbags which will cover the windows, a roll cage and side, rear and frontal collision impact absorption engineering.
Elio Motors is set to begin production on the Elio March 2015. Those who are already interested in buying one of the first ones manufactured are able to reserve themselves a spot at the company’s website. Over 18,000 individuals have already done so.
There is also a promotional video available that demonstrates how well the vehicle drives. The prototype in the video does not have seat belts and there may be some differences in the features once the vehicle is released next year. Vassallo said that he was anywhere from 80 to 90 percent positive that the price of the Elio car will be lower than $7,000.
By Stacy Lamy