Automobile entrepreneur Paul Elio is on to something big — or small, depending on your perspective. His Troy, MI-based company, Elio Motors Inc., is getting national recognition for the high-mileage, low-cost Elio P4 vehicle. And fans got a detailed look at the car’s innovative style at Smithsonian magazine’s Future is Here Festival in Washington, D.C., in May. The Elio was on display at the four-day annual event that highlights advanced thinking in science, technology and engineering.
Elio Motors has taken a revolutionary approach to manufacturing the three-wheeled Elio, which gets up to 84 mpg without compromising amenities — power windows, power door locks and air conditioning — or safety considerations, including multiple air bags and an aerodynamic, enclosed vehicle body. Best of all, the car is expected to sell for just $6,800.
The lightweight vehicle (weighing in at 1,228-pounds versus 2,400 pounds for most entry-level vehicles) is engineered to handle all weather conditions, including snow. Measuring 160 inches long with a 110-inch wheelbase, the company says the vehicle was designed to fit a six-foot-one-inch, 220-pound person. The car has room for two passengers, with the second passenger sitting behind the driver.
Elio Motors’ mission is: “To provide a fun-to-drive, super economical personal transportation alternative, based on a list of consumer-focused ‘must-haves’ that keep our vehicles affordable, safe and environmentally friendly.”
The company says it’s dedicated to creating American jobs and boosting manufacturing in the United States. The Elio factory, a former General Motors facility in Shreveport, LA, is expected to employ 1,500 workers. Plus, the vehicle is engineered to use more than 90 percent North American content, creating another 1,500 jobs at its supplier partner companies.
The Elio is attracting attention, with thousands of perspective buyers on the vehicle waiting list. The company estimates production in the first half of 2016.