Automotive

Elio Motors completes engineering, moves to crash testing

Elio Motors completes engineer...
An Elio prototype on display at the LA Auto Show
An Elio prototype on display at the LA Auto Show
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The final version of the Elio chassis
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The final version of the Elio chassis
An Elio prototype on display at the LA Auto Show
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An Elio prototype on display at the LA Auto Show

The eagerly-anticipated Elio vehicle recently came a step closer to consumers, as Elio Motors announced that the final stage of engineering has been completed. Crash testing is next, before commercial production begins.

Besides its eye-catching three-wheeled design, the petrol-powered Elio also gets up to 84 mpg (2.8 l/100km) and has a targeted base price of US$6,800. This Thursday, it was announced that the fourth and final stage of engineering was finished, with completion of the chassis design.

The final version of the Elio chassis
The final version of the Elio chassis

That design incorporates a front suspension with unequal upper and lower control arms, utilizing a coil-over shock absorber. The result is a lower profile for better aerodynamics, along with less weight than the commonly-used MacPherson struts. The rear suspension consists of a swing-arm and coil-over shock system.

"Once our E-Series vehicles emerge from the pilot build, the Chassis team will conduct ride and handling development tuning to refine the vehicle's driving characteristics prior to commercial production," says Jeff Johnston, Elio's VP of engineering. "When this real-world and destructive testing is complete, the team will be charged with continual chassis and suspension development for model-year updates."

Source: Elio Motors

15 comments
BartyLobethal
I hope this is an engineering and commercial success. If they finally manage to bring these to market at or near the target price then they'll probably retail in Australia for around AU$13~15k. I'd prefer one that leans, but this still looks pretty good as a commuting / day-trip proposition.
guzmanchinky
Will they test it against a typical vehicle and measure the forces on the dummy? No. And that's why these tiny vehicles that do "great" against a wall (basically crashing into themselves) are actually completely deadly in the real world.
Daishi
@guzmanchinky tests have shown your point is valid. The forces on the vehicle in a collision with another vehicle are greater because of it's lack of mass. The other issue is smaller crumple zones and such due to the smaller dimensions of the vehicle. Anyone who expects this to be anywhere near as safe as a traditional automobile in an accident is going to be disappointed.
It would be safer than a motorcycle but that's not saying much as most people are afraid to commute on a motorcycle through heavy traffic.
Outside of those points I think the enclosed forward trike design has a lot of merit as a commuter vehicle but I still think Elio itself is...not exactly an honest company. They are getting paid so well just collecting peoples money I don't know that they have any actual intention on delivering a production vehicle.
My suspicion is this will probably go down as one of the largest crowd funded disasters in history.
I get that launching a new car company and category of automobile is a very difficult challenge and there will be delays but my suspicion is based on more than just the delays. I had the same opinion of the company before all of the delays anyway.
CAVUMark
Just hurry up will you....
VoiceofReason
Daishi, you're correct. According to the lead engineer/inventor, who is an engineer, the vehicle is narrower than a normal auto, but has more room side to side than if they just chopped the car in half. The front to back seating allows more area than one would get in a typical sedan. That should reduce the G-forces in a side impact. Hopefully. We'll have to wait and see. Safer than any motorcycle or scooter could be.
Majki
Forces against vehicles ARE NOT greater, where did you get that? Wall is UNMOVABLE object of UNLIMITED mass where other vehicles have less or more mass than vehicle-under-test depending of the size of the vehicle that crashes into vehicle-under-test. Plus, when two vehicles collide, crumple zones of BOTH vehicles accept forces where when vehicle collides with wall only crumple zone of vehicle-under-test can accept forces of the wall. Also, when two vehicles collide, some of the forces will rotate both vehicles, thus not all forces will be transferred to vehicle-under-test.
habakak
What a ridiculous heap of junk. OK, maybe it will work in some 3rd world countries. But in the 3rd world people always has a need to ferry stuff (in the developed world most people hire specialized vehicles or companies to move stuff for them) AND they have large families.
Stuff like this comes from the ridiculous notion to build 100 mpg cars. We already can. It's called an electric car. It looks like a conventional car, is just as fast, just as safer or safer and can carry as many people or goods and more. Yes, it's still too expensive, but in 5 to 10 years it won't be and will be mainstream. Ridiculous death-traps like this will be gone forever.
Whether we like it or not. Looks matter. And this is severely lacking in that department. And that is the LEAST of what's wrong with it. Garbage.
EdLowery
More vaporware. We've seen this kind of stuff over and over, and each time, a corporate officer makes big promises, squeaks past the law, and walks off with investor money.
FabianLamaestra
Perhaps someone can confirm if crash testing is even required for 2 and 3 wheel vehicles. I am glad Elio is concerned about safety, but this would seem to be just another excuse to push out their delivery schedule further.
Timelord
Not holding my breath. If a vehicle with specifications like this were actually possible at this price point, one of the large companies with expertise in both cars and motorcycles - like Honda or Suzuki - would have made it already. It would address the same market as Kei cars in Japan while also being marketable outside that country.