A low-cost vehicle that gets 84 miles per gallon
— By Tyler Falk on April 2, 2014, 2:11 PM PST
it is only the safety issue that would stop people from buying one of these for their teenager or as the second car.
We had an Isetta in 1967 in the UK (an italian front-opening three wheeler) and the gas mileage was incredible, but it still felt VERY small compared to trucks on the road - which was scary ! Another one we tried was a 3-wheel Reliant (around 1969) that was more like a car about the size of my current Hyundai Accent, and that behaved very well. So this is a good way to go for the small commuter, especially the lone rider. Trucks are the problem on US roads !
One concern would be how the local authorities would react to licensing. Another concern would be insurance.
there are way too many comments about safety on here. If you want safe, go get a big truck or something. Most poeple I know are willing to ride a motorcycle but if you mention a cobalt or fiat 500 then they start in with "oh, you'll get crushed in an accident". That seriously makes no sense to me.
Besides, don't be such wimps.
You should take another look at Tata Motors Nano. Priced at around $ 2,800/= it is a full 4 wheeled vehicle seating 4 people comfortable. The fuel efficiency is close to 23 km per liter.
This looks like the modern incarnation of "The Dale" which ultimately did not ever go into production.
I wonder how many times the Corbin Sparrow will be built. Good plan as an electric. Not so thrilled with burning gas. Will this be the 3-wheeler that finally makes it big? Call me skeptical. It has been tried and failed so many times, I can't count.
I think this vehicle has potential. Compare the safety difference between it and the motorcycle. Another advantage is that the vehicle will be driveable in all countries whether they drive on the left or the right.
I did not see anywhere in the article about the size of the engine. Also would it be possible to make an electric vehicle of this size? The body weight must be fairly low, so it could accommodate a battery under the floor.
1. We will only have an idea about this vehicle's safety attributes after the National Insurance Institute destroys several in crash tests.
2. I would suggest moving the side view mirrors forward to where they place them in Europe instead of the crazy US location.
3. It looks pretty cool. I thought I saw one today. I guess it was either a prototype or an enclosed 3 wheel motorcycle.
4. It needs a trailer hitch for a bike rack or an Elio trailer.
5. I think they should reconsider the name. I think it's strange to name a vehicle after a frozen pizza.
It looks really nice; I can see it catching-on in Europe as a "second" car. I bet it's fun to drive.
Lolz at the dinosaurs posting below, declaring it to be unsafe (while apparently being OK with motorcycles and bicycles)!
It seems many Americans mistrust anything smaller than an F-100. It's their loss.
I think a vehicle like this could have a feasible role in urban and suburban commuter scenarios where morning and afternoon gridlock speeds are typically 25 to 45 mph. Occupant safety can be engineered, even for a small package. F-1 has shown that in a very small, extreme and expensive car, but it demonstrates what can be done... and trickled down to less esoteric vehicles.
No vehicle is totally safe. I commuted via small motorcycle for some years, in good weather, and survived. I've commuted in small cars and survived in rain storms and snow storms. And I've done extensive travel on two continents and numerous countries, again in small cars, and somehow miraculously survived that, too. I think there's a lot to be said about a good handling small car that can be maneuvered quickly enough to avoid an accident. Great tires come into this equation as well.
A well trained and alert driver goes a long way toward providing survivability in any situation. Paying special attention to drivers that aren't paying attention or ignore rules of the road ( a rapidly growing segment ) is very important.
Use of the car does not pay for the car. This is true for all cars, btw.
Use of the car does not pay for the fuel and the incredible fuel supply system.
Use of the car does not pay for the road(s). All of the above are paid for with (bottomless) debt; currently $800 TRILLION worth. How much more, folks?
Since a good bicycle can cost $5000, hard to see how this will work (unless components are stolen from somewhere else).
Cars are out. Shoes are in. Get used to it.
Does it come with a spare tire?
Also, is the 84 MPG with the driver only, or will the MPGs be considerably less with a second passenger? What is the maximum height for a passenger, and how wide is the seat? Just like jet planes, seats on vehicles have to account for many different sized humans.
I also see high insurance rates for those vehicles, since, size-wise, it's bound to lose in a crash against most cars and SUVs and trucks and tractor trailers.
Also, forget about making out in the back seat.
Looks kind of dangerous.
The low profile would make it harder to see in the blind spots, and cars and big trucks will be moving into it's path as if there was nothing there.
Also, it won't be classified as a "green" car, because, it's still using a fossil fuel. Environmentalists and liberals want to do away with fossil fuels, so, even if the Elio were to get 1000 MPGs, it would still be an "environmentally unfriendly" vehicle.
I can't imagine this meeting US safety regs. But since it's technically not a "car", I suppose it doesn't have to. (More in a class with motorcycles) Would love to see the crash test video on this one. Considering how poorly other (and larger) minicars do on crash tests, I can't imagine this even being survivable.
As a car this is a joke, and like the Aptera (which I really liked) may never come to market.
The 5 star safety rating expectation is ludicrous. If you've never see offset frontal impact testing at 35 miles an hour you can't possibly imagine the energy transfer. It's truly frightening. The video claims larger crush zones but doesn't say larger than what, nor where the are. Certainly there is little to no protection from offset crashes.
But, importantly they never claim the Elio is a car. Likely it would have to be classified as a motorcycle since it can't pass FMVSS nor EPA regs for passenger cars.
For stability, looks like it it probably very stable, with those wide spread front wheels, and low slung body, would take a lot to roll over. Safety, it's possible, if it has a strong passenger compartment, it could beat most other cars, as it doesn't have so many doors making weak points.
I drive an Envoy, because I need the room for the wife and her wheelchair. Then I drive the guzzler to work and back (60 miles) every day alone! Darn right I want one of these!
The Elio is great, I've reserved mine. Elio managed to obsolete the wheel, well ok, not 'the' wheel, but 'a' wheel.
This is infinitely safer than any motorcycle and by far the greatest factor in the safety of any vehicle is the driver.
It also gets almost twice the gas mileage of my motorcycle, has air conditioning and heat and can be driven in the winter. This is a right sized climate controlled capsule that can take you anywhere and the performance is more than adequate.
This is a wonderful idea and the price is right and shows what American ingenuity can do when unencumbered with the high dollar layers of countless millionaire executives in American corporations. Keep thinking Elio, we need you.
If it is a decent car it could put Smart Cars out of business.
This is aimed right at the same market.
Commuters who work in urban areas with tight parking. I have never seen a Smart Car with 2 people in it.
If is works as promised, it will kill Smart on upfront cost and MPG.
Very fascinating and intriguing concept trike. I doubt that it could receive a 'five star' safety rating and given the inherent instability I suspect that it would present a significant roll over or side impact risk. It reminds me of another not so smart "smart" car. If the only competing vehicles on the road were bicycles and motorcycles, I might be interested but with Sequoias, and trucks sharing the same space, the Elio is no dealio.
The problem with tiny cars is safety. As long as highways and streets are being used by semis and monster trucks, you would not be safe in one of these.
@PSFTGURU Good idea for the mirrors.
Have Congress change the law calling for their exact placement and they would probably move them in a minute.
@adornoe I have a 3-wheeler. It's a Can-Am Spyder. Full coverage is about $500 a year in Massachusetts. This would be a little more practical for less money. I just wonder if they can really do it for $6800. Check out their website. The link is in the story. For around town an electric model would be OK, but I do like to be able to get in and go for an all day ride if needed.
@adornoe Since most electricity is produced using fossil fuel, I think 50-84 mpg compared to 20-30 mpg would be environmentally friendly. It's hard to compare the savings, if any, of an electric car to a gas powered vehicle. Especially since there is no information on it. If you invest in solar panels to charge your electric car, that would be environmental.
As for safety, Light vehicle, 1200 lbs, would get pushed out of the way more than smashed on impact, which could provide better protection in many situations. Evasive maneuvering helps a lot, I drive a Honda Civic Coupe. Be aware of you're surroundings, which I know is asking a lot from the majority of people, because I see them every day cruising in large packs down the highway, many with no more than a car length from the one in front of them. Don't drive near large commercial vehicles.
If you're depending on your large suv, pickup saving you in an accident, you should look at statistics.
@adornoe Observation. The height is about the same as a Mazda Miata or other roadster design. Making visibility issues likely comparable.
@adornoe Are you speaking for all liberals and environmentalists (which I've learned aren't necessarily one & the same)? I consider myself a practical environmentalist, and I'll take improvements wherever they can be made, even if fossil fuels must play a role in a transition period. Cold turkey has never been realistic, but increasingly there is middle ground between that and pretty much business as usual. Modest, efficient transportation is just another option for many, particularly with improvements in safety systems and construction. There will always be some extra risk associated with mass differential (maybe less so as more vehicles become lighter), but even with motorcycles many are not dissuaded by that.
@JohnMcGrew It would probably have to meet the same regulations as the Can-Am Spyder.
In which case the roll cage and airbags should make it beat the Spyder hands down.
@EVdeath Not sure why everyone is so concerned with frontal crash tests. Simple thing, don't tailgate.
First thing that comes into my mind when I see a car smashed in the front end is, 'idiot'.
Also, there is a difference between stopping a 1200 lb vehicle compared to a 4000 lb vehicle.
With a extreme structural rigidity and energy disappating panels, the Smart Car is much more robust than you would think, from it's slight proportions. Hoipefully, the designers of this would learn a thing or two from this.
@Paul Ebert Personally, having the electric company convert fossil fuel to electricity and selling it to me as opposed to burning it myself doesn't make a lot of sense. E=mc^2.
How do you calculate watts per mile and compare to mpg?
Charging batteries is fairly inefficient and you lose a lot of energy to heat and through the charger.
Don't assume electric is energy savings, although I'm sure the electric company would argue that. Why do they push heat pumps?
@Hates Idiots As far as I'm concerned that wouldn't take much. The company I work for has 1 Smart Car in their fleet. It's nothing related to what I've driven in Europe. It's gas powered and auto and a real dog. I'm definitely NOT a GM fan but we've also got a base Cobalt in the fleet that not only seats 4 comfortably, is far quicker and also beats the MPG of the Smart Car by a considerable margin. I can't figure out why they keep selling.... As for all of the comments about 3 wheels, there are a load of very stable and very quick 3-wheelers out there. Just depends on the geometry and suspension design.
@ajrmd read the article and do a little research. It's very safe and very stable.
Yes that's true. I remember 2 German models, one was a Heinkel, and the other was a Messeschmitt(No they weren't German fighter planes!)
Statistics and studies always point to bigger and heavier vehicles to always fare better in accidents than any small and light-weight vehicle. The only time the 84 MPG vehicle would get pushed out of the way, would be after the accident, and after it got shredded during the accident.
That 84 MPG vehicle would end up completely shredded in an accident against a 4 ton pickup or a heavy SUV or against a tractor trailer. YOu must be living in fantasy-land.
Any vehicle that could get high MPG, would be more environmentally friendly than a lower MPG vehicle, but, it would also be a vehicle that would demand a higher insurance premium, since it would not offer much in protection in accidents. Something like that vehicle would be put to better use in a golf course, where traffic is only other golf carts and people.
Also, remember that, when it comes to gas economy, a vehicle that gets better MPGs, might serve as an incentive to drive more, where you'd then lose the "environmental friendliness"; I know how that works, since I used to drive more when I had a better MPG car. The only obstacle to me driving more, is the high fuel prices, which Obama and the democrats love, but which hurts all aspects of the economy and people. I can get up to 37 MPGs on my SUV on the highway, and I try not to do too much driving in the city; that in itself would keep the economy from growing, since, with more people holding back their driving, they won't be making as many visits to supermarkets and shopping centers and malls, and, they'll be staying home for vacations and week-ends.
There is nothing that doesn't come without repercussions, even what might seem like good ideas in the minds of some.
@adornoe Correction. It is actually taller than a Miata. The height is more like a Honda Civic.
@AJ523 Dude! (Dudette?) Welcome to the reality party.
I'm not talking about you. You sound like a reasonable person, and I doubt that most environmentalists and liberals are as reasonable as you sound.
The idea behind the green and environmental agendas, don't leave room for fossil fuels, no matter how impractical their agendas and goals and methods are. The vehicle above, even if I myself have problems with accepting it as it is, should be considered an environmentally friendly vehicle, but, to the wackos (which I'm assuming you're not one of them), it won't be so until it runs on their definition of "renewable energy".
Now, if more "liberals and environmentalists" were as reasonable as you, perhaps the discussions about green energy or renewable energy, wouldn't be as confrontational as they tend to be so often.
Yeah Neil we took a lok at the smart car, but you couldn't duplicate energy absorbing space frame for this money. The body panels are non-structural by the way.
Regardless the a Smart still sucks with off set frontal.
In this case there is no space to disappat the energy from off set frontal.
@EVdeath Have you gone to see an F-1 race live yet? Shaping up to be a very interesting season. I remember lots of changes in engine and sound through the years... and all really turned out the be very cool sounding when heard live. TV broadcasts have never done justice to engine sounds, if that your reason for "still not liking the new F-1".
@EVdeath It is amazing how many people are secretly automotive engineers that specialize in testing on this thread.
Oh - wait - it's all you. Perhaps you are an engineer.