Paul Elio wanted to bring affordable transportation to drivers and create jobs for American workers. The company is planning to release vehicles for sale in the first quarter of 2015. The car is planned to use 95% American parts and American labor, vitally important to Paul.
The company says that the vehicle will cost $6800, achieve an 84 miles per gallon fuel economy, and they anticipate a five star NHTSA safety rating. The eight gallon tank will theoretically allow a driver to go 672 miles on a tank of gas. Top speed of the Elio is said to be over 100 miles per hour.
Vehicles will be built in the abandoned Shreveport Louisiana assembly plant. Elio will sell the vehicles themselves at specialized retail centers in the top sixty markets across the United States. Eight different colors are all hip, now and named things like Licorice, Sour Apple and Rocket Silver.
Elios come with standard equipment - a reinforced roll cage and airbags for safety, radio, air conditioning and power windows for comfort. Most of the components of the Elio are already in production, allowing the vehicle to keep a low cost and hopefully low insurance premiums. Because most of the components can be purchased at a corner auto parts store the carmaker is expecting low maintenance costs.
The small front mounted engine in the Elio is 70 horsepower, 1.0 litre, three cylinder device that resembles a Geo Metro more than a standard Chevrolet or Ford offering. Two seats are available in tandem configuration, or the driver can go solo and stow gear on the fold-down second seat.
The Elio is incredible because of its massive ambition. It's hard to think of another automaker starting out like this on such a large scale with such a radical product. Massive marketing campaigns aren't hitting venues like the Superbowl but the vehicle was featured last month at the Consumer Electronics Show, the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction, and the Sundance Film Festival.
Even with heavy funding in place, a location secured to build the product, and suppliers on board for production there is a heavy question in the air of whether or not the Elio can become a fully realized product. Obtaining a five star crash rating will go a long way toward winning consumer confidence and once production begins it will be exciting to see how popular the vehicle is with American consumers.