The three-wheeled Elio is said to achieve 84 mpg highway

This is the Elio.

The Elio is supposed to get up to 84 mpg highway, over 60 mpg combined and have a maximum range of 672 miles. Yep, that’s better than just about any internal combustion vehicle out there. Oh, and it’s not a hybrid either. Nope, the Elio is a reverse-tricycle/three-wheeled, two-passenger vehicle with a fully enclosed cockpit. It runs on regular unleaded.

According to Elio, the base price is $6,800.

Don’t let the photo fool you – this baby only holds two. I think this is the Elio Motors head honcho’s family.

Elio is remarkably vague when it comes to any technical details. What I was able to scrape off the various sales pitches crammed on to their website is that the Elio is front-wheel drive (FWD), tandem seating for two, and has seven “cool colors.”  Other facts: Elio’s press people expect it to get a five star safety rating. I’m not too sure if that’s a motorcycle or automotive rating.  “This protection is supported by a reinforced roll-cage frame, ABS, 50% larger crush zones than similar vehicles, and front-wheel-drive for optimum traction in inclement weather. Preliminary safety tests on computer models forecast a 5-Star safety rating.” – – Elio Motors

I wouldn’t bother looking for technical details on their website, there’s only a few sales pitches and (too many) sarcastic analogies.

“It only costs $6800. That’s about what you would pay for an outboard motor to power a rowboat, or a one-way first class ticket from Chicago to London, or a used high end watch … we could go on.” – – Elio Motors

Is it a motorcycle? Yep, anything with less than four wheels is according to Feds.

Here’s Elio Motor’s take: “According to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) “Motorcycle” means a motor vehicle with motive power having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground.”  So if it is less than four wheels it is a motorcycle.  But what do you see when you look at the Elio? Fully enclosed, power windows, wiper blades, steering wheel, gas and brake pedals … you be the judge.”

Elio Motors will offer a three-Year / 36,000 bumper-to-bumper warranty for all of their vehicles. Air conditioning, power windows, ABS and power door-locks comes standard as does a stereo. A manual and automatic transmission is available – no idea how many gears. Come to think of it, I have no clue what type of engine, suspension, brakes or even tire diameter are part of the Elio.

I can tell you that one of their colors is called Creamsicle.

The lack of most details and numbers gave me pause as to any legitimacy. There has been no attempt from Elio Motors to contact any automotive journalists that I know of. The only thing that makes this start-up remotely plausible is the fact that they just had an investor purchase a former General Motors plant in Shreveport, Louisiana – part of the plant is for Elio Motors.

I’m not a fan of their almost snarky, sales pitch-heavy website and I’m dubious about their claims as they only have a prototype that looks a bit rough around the edges. On the other hand, I like small automakers as they can produce amazing things. I hope Elio Motors is the real deal – I truly do.

I’ll keep you informed, Elio Motors is supposed to go into production in mid 2014.

Maybe they’ll provide a test drive in the near future.  Check out Roman as he compares two of the most fuel efficient vehicles in their class!


According to their Facebook page: “We will power the vehicle with an inline 3 cylinder, 1 liter, 70 HP, fuel injected, DOHC gas powered, liquid cooled automotive engine. The transmission will be either a 5-speed manual or automatic. The top speed is in excess of 100 MPH, and the 0-60 speed is under 9.6 seconds. The engine is in the front and it is a front wheel drive vehicle. We will have 3 wheel disc brakes with ABS on 15″ wheels. The suspension is independent, unequal length control arms, coil over spring and shock in the front and Mono shock with coil over spring and shock in the rear. The ground clearance is 5.75″. The body panels are made of composite which will be attached to a stiff body which will lead to a quiet cockpit experience. The trunk space will be at least 27″ x 14″ x 10″, enough for a airline carry on bag, and will be able to accommodate a golf bag with the rear seat down (47″+). Heater, defrost, A/C, AM/FM radio, three airbags, seat belts, tempered glass, windshield wiper, are all standard equipment. We will be providing some CAD renderings of the interior shortly. We want to make sure that what we send out is accurate to the final product, and the current mule doesn’t have a production ready interior. Stay tuned.”

Thanks to Kasper for the tip!


Yay for diesel power!

Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism – Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.