Automotive

Elio edges closer to production with E1A test vehicle

Elio edges closer to productio...
Elio Motors will start testing with its new prototype
Elio Motors will start testing with its new prototype
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The Elio P5 from above
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The Elio P5 from above
Elio is hoping the P5's small footprint and light weight helps save fuel
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Elio is hoping the P5's small footprint and light weight helps save fuel
The three wheeler still has an airbag and air conditioning 
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The three wheeler still has an airbag and air conditioning 
Elio has faced some setbacks on the way, but the E-Series is creeping towards production
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Elio has faced some setbacks on the way, but the E-Series is creeping towards production
Elio Motors has created its first pre-production prototype
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Elio Motors has created its first pre-production prototype
Elio Motors will start testing with its new prototype
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Elio Motors will start testing with its new prototype
Company CEO Paul Elio behind the wheel of the E-Series prototype
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Company CEO Paul Elio behind the wheel of the E-Series prototype
The E-Series Prototype will be used for testing and pre-production refinements. 
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The E-Series Prototype will be used for testing and pre-production refinements. 

Elio Motors is an enigma of the motoring world, promising plenty but failing to deliver thus far. Every time the launch of its cars is pushed back, the screams of naysayers grow louder and louder, but Elio is looking to silence the doubters with the completion of its first E-Series test car.

Unveiled in front of automotive suppliers and engineers in Livonia, Michigan, Elio says Prototype E1A will be used to refine and fine-tune the design as it creeps towards production spec. All things being equal, it'll be one of 23 validation vehicles planned to hone aerodynamics and safety performance.

"The completion of the first E-Series vehicle signals the launch of another critical phase in our journey," says Paul Elio, founder and CEO of Elio Motors. "The real-world performance data that we gather through the E-Series testing will allow our team to make final adjustments prior to tooling up for production. This is a giant step forward for the company and our Elio reservation holders as we continue to progress."

Once the testing is completed, the company will sell its first 100 pre-production vehicles to fleet customers with the intention of refining the breed when (or if) the three-wheeler finally reaches consumers.

Should that day come, P5 three-wheeler pricing will start at US$6,800. Despite the bargain-basement price, Elio Motors is promising highway mileage of 84 mpg (2.8 L/100km) from the air-conditioned, airbag-equipped trike.

Source: Elio Motors

15 comments
Dax Wagner
Even with this progress, I STILL say the first 1000 reservations will not be filled...ever.
Daishi
The company is several years in at this point and has an operating budget in the ballpark of about $23 million/year. Not long ago they had a market cap over a billion dollars and so far the 5 prototypes before this one were something a handful of university students or small garages could have assembled as a side project. For a company with such ambitious goals in production costs they have up to this point been spending money like it's going out of style even with only about a dozen employees. The things they still have left to achieve will be expensive to do. I'll refrain from using harsher wording and say it's not going to be easy.
BigGoofyGuy
I think that is really cool. I hope to see them on the roads in the future and - hopefully - own one too.
Bob Dobbs
As much as I want to see this in production the $6,800 price claim needs to end as they require 250,000 manufactured per year which they simply can't afford the parts or even the labor. Yes, there are ~50k pre-orders but they will **at most** get to 100K sales 1st year. This being an educated guess using the basis of sales figures of current production models by other makers and the fact the hottest vehicle segment being compact SUV's. Till then I'm in the process of seeking a 1st generation Honda Insight which I might contemplate swapping over the parts to the Elio or DIY hybrid utilizing electric powered rear wheel. Main issue I see with swap is steering column being blocked by the engine or accessories.
mhpr262
It is still a mystery to me how they intend to keep within the 6.800 dollar price limit for a car with elelctric windows, air condition airbags and a bespoke engine produced in low numbers. You can't even get a medium sized motorcycle for that.
pwndecaf
Next step - try a 4 wheel configuration for testing. Price will increase by the cost or one wheel and tire. Testing will complete in early 2020 due to NHTSA regs of 4 wheel vehicles. Followed by - try wider body configuration now that 4 wheels is the design choice. Price will go down using old VW Beetle tooling for sheet metal and will employ canard and foldable wings for anytime flight. Testing will be completed in 2025 - definitely, depending on FAA certification and regulation. People who put money down will get several quality suitable-for-framing poster choices of 3 and 4 wheel pre-production models. Posters with wings are $5 +SH and taxes. Etc, etc...
michael_dowling
Sadly,they will invariably fail,just like other promising startups such as the Aptera,which I really liked. It's all about funding in the end,which these tiny startups can't manage to find.
chidrbmt
Surely your comment is backed by facts,Dax. Hopefully the do nothing arm chair naysayers are wrong. If inventors listened to them,we're still be using candles and horses. Coming out with a completely new vehicle and production facility takes allot more time,money and effort than some university students. Eilo have put together a excellent team of experienced,talented people and suppliers.
habakak
I can see that there is a market somewhere for this. But it's a case of too little too late. Even if there is a market, it will dry up quickly. The 100 mpg car is an electric car (in terms of energy use and the cost of that energy). And it will achieve other things a 100 mpg gasoline car can't as well. And in 10 years 25% or more of global energy production will be renewable due to the growth of solar and wind energy. And it will only get better. So EV's will be charged with clean energy to take away one more complaint from the naysayers. I would recommend the investors in Elio motors to take their money elsewhere and their employees to find other jobs.
Henreid
I would genuinely like to see the Elio car succeed. I don't own a vehicle now, and an Elio-type car is about the only auto that I could afford to buy, and would make sense to own. I believe it it would be an efficient and useful vehicle in countries all around the world. If the company fails, all its critics will be able to enjoy the schadenfreude of saying "I told you so", but until that happens, I am looking forward to the introduction of the Elio on the automotive market. If you consider their business enterprise a risky venture or even a fraud, good for you -- don't invest in it. I don't really grasp what purpose is served merely from voicing negative conjecture about another person's project, especially one that could ultimately prove to be of great benefit.