• Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Freedom in the air

Elio, the ideal commute car

Mail Online

It might look like a bizarre toy car with stablisers, but the Elio could soon be taking over roads across the US.

The three-wheeled $6,800 (£4,075) vehicle seats two passengers and goes 0 to 60 mph in 9.6 seconds.  It is the same length as a Honda Fit, but half the weight at 1,250lbs (570kg), allowing it to do 84 miles to the gallon.

The Elio has a three-cylinder, 0.9-litre engine and a top speed of more than 160 km/h.

 

Phoenix-based Elio Motors is now planning to unleash the car on the US market next year, claiming it is the ideal vehicle for commuters.

The company plans to start making the cars next autumn at a former General Motors plant in Shreveport, Louisiana. More than 27,000 people have reserved a model, and the firm hopes to make 250,000 cars a year by 2016.

Because it has three wheels - two in front and one in the rear - the Elio is classified as a motorcycle by the US government.

But Elio Motors founder Paul Elio said the vehicle has all the safety features of a car, such as an anti-lock brakes, front and side air bags and a steel cage that surrounds the occupants.

The Elio's two seats sit front and back instead of side-by-side, so the driver is positioned in the centre with the passenger directly behind.  That arrangement, plus the low seating position - the Elio is just 4.5ft (54 inches) tall - and the lack of power steering, are said to take a little getting used to.

But test drivers claim it feels just like any other small car.

Published: 12:01 am Saturday, August 16, 2014

Last modified: 10:21 pm Saturday, August 16, 2014

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