Elio Motors is truly on the forefront of automotive efficiency. Forget your Toyota Prius – and here’s why….
Who the heck are Elio Motors, you ask? Simple. Elio Motors is an American company, with its first factory being in Shreveport, Louisiana, that is going to build the most fuel efficient vehicle money can buy. Not only that, they plan to do it at a price point that no other car sold can match. You can drive home in an Elio for just $6,800. Not only that, but your $6,800 brand new car will also be able to achieve 84 miles per gallon on the highway. Have I got your attention now? You bet I do – and Elio thinks they will, as well. They’re opening retail locations in the 60 largest markets in the US, quite an ambitious endeavor for such a small company. Here’s their map of planned locations. Keep in mind, this is just for the launch. There will be more locations added here in the States as well as abroad, with Canada projected to be the first target country for expansion.
Even though I am traditionally a fan of far less efficient vehicles, the Elio story tugs at my heartstrings. A good old-fashioned American startup company looking to do something no one else has done before, our country needs more innovators like Elio Motors. The company is the brainchild and vision of one man, Mr. Paul Elio. His mission was simple: to provide affordable transportation to commuters, and to provide and create “vital American jobs.”
Elio isn’t doing this all on their own, however. They’re backed by some of the biggest and best suppliers in the automotive industry. Some of them, like Cooper Tires and Takata, you may recognize. Others, like Henkel and Kiekert, you may not, but these are the companies that supply parts, tools, and technologies to some of the leading automobile manufacturers of the world such as GM, Ferrari, Bugatti, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen, just to name a few. In other words – an Elio is comprised of parts from the very same companies that help make everything from a lowly Chevy Spark to the Bugatti Veyron hypercar possible. You’re in good hands.
Elio has big dreams for its company beyond the eco-friendly niche market. They’re offering fleet, rental, and government sales too, and rightfully so. The car is perfect for these applications. For one, it looks like nothing else on the road, so any company that puts their logo on the side of an Elio is sure to stand out and make an impact. If government agencies get on board, they’ll save money with the incredible gas mileage and low price tag, but they’ll also be buying American made product, which is always good. Likewise, for rental agencies, imagine being able to travel several hundred miles on a weekend getaway and only spend a few dollars in gas. You can spend less time worrying about the TRIP and more time thinking about the DESTINATION, which is what every vacation is about!
The Elio seats two adults tandem-style (that’s one in front of the other), so it might not be the car for everyone. However, for short trips around town, or for people without children, it could be a lifesaver. It’s front wheel drive and equipped with ABS, airbags, stability control, and all other federally mandated safety equipment. In fact, the company is striving to achieve a 5 star crash rating from the NHTSA, their highest honor. For a small car, it’s pretty spacious, too. Elio claims that the tallest person to fit into the car was 6′ 8″ tall, and that they designed the car to fit a 6′ 1″ 220 pound adult. It’ll also come standard with air conditioning, heat, power windows and locks, and more. Elio is working with Continental Engineering Services on a built in smartphone dock, making the Elio truly a car for the 21st century commuter.
Naysayers make note that the Elio is a waste of money, that it will ultimately fail because it’s a motorcycle, not a car, and that it would be expensive to insure. Others note that everyone will have to wear a helmet, but they would be wrong on both counts. Consider this: the Elio only costs $6,800. That’s less than ANY car on the market. It’s anticipated to get a 5-star safety rating. That makes it better than many cars sold today, and also cheaper. The vehicle couldn’t possibly be $6,800 while still having parts that cost as much as a traditional car or truck to produce, so insurance companies will, in the event of a crash, have to pay less. It’s all proportionate. Just like companies can insure Nissan Versas and Bentley Continental GTs, because the prices of the parts are in line with the prices of the cars. The same would be true for Elio.
On the subject of helmets, currently, only five states, (NE, MO, MS, WV, and NC) REQUIRE helmets on motorcycles. Ten others require helmets if you’re below a certain age, which is usually 18, except in the case of Delaware (19), and Arksansas (21). That means that in 35 states, you are free to ride.. er, drive, your Elio with no helmet of any kind, and that expands to 45 states if you’re over 21 years old, as most car shoppers are. With that said, laws do change, and if the Elio picks up enough steam across the country, states could issue an exemption for the Elio and vehicles like it, or the US Government could alter the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards to reflect vehicles of this type. In other words, the majority of prospective Elio owners won’t need to worry about wearing a helmet, and instead can focus on low cost and incredible fuel economy.
Sounds good, right? The Elio comes with a 3 year/36,000 mile warranty, and yes – it really does cost only $6,800. In order to buy, you have to reserve your car. You can do so with as little as $100 US with their “I want it!” reservation, and it’s even refundable if you’re, well, waffling.
If you’re more committed to wanting to own an Elio, though, you can go forward with what they call an “I’m All In” reservation. In addition to putting your name on the list, you’ll also have priority selection over standard reservations. You’ll also get a shirt, a bumper sticker, and a deduction from the final sale price of your new car. The “I’m All In” reservations can also be upgraded, so you can secure your position with $100 now, then increase to as much as $1,000 down, which will get you $1,500 off the final sale price. These, however, are non-refundable. Still interested? Elio deliveries will begin in the 4th quarter of 2014. According to their website, as of January 23, 2014, there have been reservations for 8,163 Elio cars. Will you be the next? If you think so, click this link to visit their website’s reservation page. Or, to learn more and hopefully help your purchasing decision along, click here to visit their regular site and view the FAQ. Once you reserve your Elio, you’re ready to hit the road in fuel-efficient style.
What do you think? Does the Elio car and company have a chance to make a difference? Are they biscuits and crazy? Would you buy one? I would. It’s different, it’s American, and if I got 84 miles per gallon, I’d almost never need gas! Think of the savings. It would pay for itself rather quickly for most people. I’ll take mine in this color: