Elio three-wheel prototype revealed
Two-passenger vehicle expects five-star safety rating.
Elio Motors unveiled a prototype of its two-passenger, three-wheeled vehicle Wednesday, confirming the all-new vehicle will have a $6,800 base price when it goes on sale in June 2014.
Paul Elio, company founder and CEO, said the vehicle is targeted at first-time or cash-strapped buyers, as well as for families who already have a family car and are seeking something inexpensive for daily commuting.
Its sub $7,000-base price makes it almost half the price of the cheapest car in the U.S. -- the base Nissan Versa, which carries a $12,780 price tag after shipping charges -- and Elio says its quirky three-wheel design cuts weight and improves aerodynamics to help it achieve 49 mpg in the city, 84 mpg on the highway.
Engineering details are still being tweaked, but Elio said the vehicle weighs less than 800 pounds and will likely be powered by a 1.0-liter three-cylinder gasoline engine, with power transferred to the front wheels via a five-speed automatic transmission. Top speed is in excess of 100 mph, and the 0-60 mph time is under 9.6 seconds.
The vehicle can be registered as a motorcycle because it has less than four wheels, but Elio says most states will not require a motorcycle license to operate the vehicle, although but the company still recommends checking with your state.
Elio said the vehicle meets every necessary four-wheel vehicle safety requirement.
Federal safety ratings aren't issued until after the car is put into production, but Elio expects to receive a five-star rating. The vehicle has a full steel frame, antilock braking system and three airbags that create a "cocoon," Elio said.
With a 110-inch wheelbase and 161 inches in length overall, its not too far from the 2013 Honda Civic sedan, which has a 105.1-inch wheelbase and is 179.4-inches overall.
We got a chance to sit inside the Elio, and even climbed into the second-row seat. Despite its diminutive looks, there was plenty of head and shoulder room once inside. The tall greenhouse and large windows kept us from feeling claustrophobic while sitting in the back.
They have even considered cargo space, with a fold-down back seat that Elio says can make room for a set of golf clubs.
Elio also announced a unique financing option. Buyers can receive a credit card with a $300 limit that is solely for the vehicle's fuel sales. Each time the card is used, Elio would add an extra amount to use to pay back the loan. For example, a $10 fuel purchase would appear as $30 on a credit card statement, with $20 being used to pay back the loan. More information on this program will be available closer to the vehicle's launch.
The three-wheeler will have a national launch after production begins in June of 2014. Production will be in a former General Motors assembly plant in Shreveport, La.
Elio said they are predicting a whopping 250,000 units to be sold per year. He admitted that that is a "nutty number," but said that the vehicle should catch the attention of new-car shoppers with its low base price and quirky design.
They are off to a good start, as Elio said there are already 13,000 units reserved.
i am sure this is considered a motorcycle.
just a skinned clone of a can am spyder.
the idea is great.
Some say this is a very Niche market car. That requires a response. I'll respond with a short story about overcomming resistance.
In the 80's Western Washingtin University entered a high gas milage competition with a low ridding two seat vehicle, Viking4. At the time two seaters were seen as only suitible for a sportcar by many. During the race there was a pit stop at a gas-station on the route, where the V4 had stopped.
A young woman, child in arms, spotted the car and pressed the driver with a question, "Who wants this? Where would I put my kids, and my groceries?"
The driver was not detered, he answered quite promptly, "It gets 110miles per gallon."
The woman only hesitated one second and said, "Oh, I can put my kids there, and my groceries there and...."
EXPLORE NEW CARS
MORE ON MSN AUTOS
ABOUT EXHAUST NOTES
Cars are cool, and here at MSN Autos we love everything about them, but we also know they're more than simply speed and style: a car is an essential tool, a much-needed accessory to help you get through your day-to-day life. What you drive is also one of the most important investments you can make, so we'll help you navigate your way through the car buying and ownership experiences. We strive to be your daily destination for news, notes, tips and tricks from across the automotive world. So whether it's through original content from our world-class journalists or the latest buzz from the far corners of the Web, Exhaust Notes helps you make sense of your automotive world.
Have a story idea? Tip us off at email@example.com.