Operating out of the swampy bayou of Louisiana, Elio Motors has become one of today’s most intriguing companies. The interest circling around this company, of course, all has to do with their soon to be released three wheeled vehicle.
Amazingly, this three wheeled car is said to deliver 84 miles per gallon on the highway and will be available for an affordable $6,800. The high mile per gallon capability is made possible by a fuel injected three-cylinder, 70 horsepower engine with overhead cam, which is obviously combined with a lightweight 1200 pound frame.
But don’t let the light weight frame fool you. According to the company, this vehicle is completely capable of handling any street conditions and will even be certified with a 5 star crash rating when it is tested.
The entire project has been the vision of one man: Paul Elio. In a recent interview with Popular Mechanics, Elio recalls his inspiration, “In 2008, oil prices were going through the roof. It was just really making me angry that so much money was pouring out of this country to people who don’t even like us so much. I guess I was complaining about it too much to my wife, so she finally told me I should do something about it. I went to work the next day and decided to kick the project off. Working with 46 engineers, we had the actual concept finished by 2009.”
That concept includes a vehicle interior that is equipped with two seats- one in the front and one in the back- as well as 3 airbags, air conditioning, power windows, power door locks, and radio. You know, basically anything you would want in a modern vehicle. Even better, it’s supposed to drive like a champ, too.
Elio says, “Once you’re in it, you have no idea that you’re missing a wheel. It drives like any other car… But what’s interesting is you don’t realize how awkward it is driving off center of a vehicle, until you drive right in between the wheels. You feel like you’re driving a little race car.”
Race car? Yes, that’s right. This car even has a little bit of giddy up, capable of hitting over 100 miles per hour. For many truck fanatics, though, this car just doesn’t have the size or strength that we want or are accustomed to.
But founder Paul Elio doesn’t recommend that this car replace your truck or SUV. Instead, because it costs only $6,800, he thinks that it should be an accompanying car that can save drivers a ton of money during their commutes to work.
Elio says, “People buy big vehicles for a reason, right? They want to tow a boat. They want to take their whole family to church on Sunday… The Elio is an ‘AND’ vehicle. Buy your SUV to tow your boat, but have an Elio, too, to drive back and forth to work.”
Maybe the best thing about this company, though, is that it is All-American. In fact, last year, the company took over a former GM plant in Shreveport, Louisiana and created a solid 1500 dollars for the local industry.
Stuart Lichter, president and chairman of the industrial redevelopment firm IRG, said this about the move, “This is a great day for Elio Motors and all those who ultimately will benefit from this venture, especially the local residents who will have tremendous new job opportunities. The possibilities here are endless, including the great opportunity to bring in other companies, perhaps even suppliers, to the site.”
As you can see, Elio is already making an impact on the American landscape even though the vehicles have yet to be released (will be available in early 2015). In the months to come, however, expect an even bigger splash from one of today’s wildest and most innovative companies.