I'm just wondering if anyone here on the website is looking at buying a new Elio? I know this will be only available in the US, but for $6,800 it would be worth buying one and then tinkering with it to see how efficient you can make it. The car has some cheap bits, but it was designed that way to keep costs / maintenance low.
They are hyping their base price of $6800 and "up to 84 highway mpg" pretty heavily. Less hyped is the 49 mpg city and 60 mpg combined. The $6800 is based on production of 250,000 annually. Their SEC filing says at half the production level the price is more like $7500. This does not include delivery charges, which based on delivery charges for other small cars will probably be about $800. Nor does it include any options, such as their Automated Manual Transmission as found in the Smart car. They have not done any real-world testing of performance or fuel consumption, relying on computer modeling.
Some of you may have gathered, I'm a big fan of small cars. There is a big gap in the market for a small one/two seater commuter car the World over, but sadly it costs just as much to make a small car as it does a big one, so up until now, the price has been holding manufacturers back.
Here's my problem with this one, reading the spec sheets and looking at the design. First off the engine, why so big? 0.9 litres is too large for a microcar, there are small SUV'S and even large Family cars here with the same sized engine, it's almost twice the size of a smart cars engine! Then there's the lack of turbocharger too, Fiat, Renault, Peugeot even Ford have very efficient, very powerful, very compact turbocharged engines of this size, not only does it help performance, but it improves economy and cuts emissions too. Not having an all electric option seems crazy too considering this is mostly intended for short city commuting trips.
Now the design. I appreciate it's built to a cost, a very low one, but look at it! It looks like it was designed in the early 90's, take a look at VW'S XL1, it's very similar, but they manage to add alot of futuristic design elements without losing the practicality and aerodynamics. Even the interior dials look like they're from an 80's hatchback. It's all wrong.
It reminds me of the Carver one almost 10 years ago (see pic) if they do manage to produce it for that price, it will do well, the carver cost €30,000 so demand was low and they went bankrupt.
I think even if the price is $7,500 and the fuel consumption is only 60mpg; it's still a great deal. A lot of the things that you mention like turbos, smaller more efficient engines would just increase the costs. I heard rumors that the VW XL1 was built to eek out the best fuel efficiency that is currently possible without any limit on the price, hence it costs about $1.2million per car.
Yea I gathered it was down to cost, but there are still plenty of small (not that small) cars out there with similar engine setups that still cost less than £8000, but when designing an entire car from scratch like these guys have, costs can soon over run. See pic below, the Dacia Sandero is the cheapest car you can buy here, you can get it with Renaults 0.9 turbo litre engine for just £7500 on the road.
Well yea, you can buy an XL1 but they are apparently about $100,000! Luckily it's development wasn't an entire waste, as the tiny TDI hybrid unit will apparently make it into another small VW, the UP! (silly name I know)
Legally, the Elio is a motorcycle, which lowers costs by not having as stringent emission and safety requirements as a full car.
The cheapest car available in the US is the Nissan Versa sedan at $11,990. At $7500, and double the combined MPG rating, the Elio will be a cheaper commuter vehicle. It can't do everything a car can do, but its target market isn't car replacement. Just extra commuter vehicle so that the guzzling mini-van, SUV, or truck, can be parked most days.
A motorcycle or scooter could be more efficient and cheaper, but being exposed to the elements and unaware car drivers is a big negative for many. A Can-Am Sypder is closest in form, higher performance, $3000 more than the Versa, and still exposes the rider.
As for the engine, the trike needs a certain level of performance in order have a chance of selling. Most of the smaller engined European cars are too slow for American drivers. The smart fortwo here has a 1L gas engine. A diesel one will cost more, and most here don't want diesel to begin with. A turbo will add cost, but more importantly, it could be a reliability issue for a small start up company.
I had considered the Elio, but the release date when I learned about them is already over a year in the past. I like the concept, and I hope they succeed, but it isn't likely with these low gas prices.
Ok thanks spartybrutus, looking forward to it. They say they will have cars by mid-end 2016 for sale.
My guess is 50:50 that anything comes off a production line in 2016. If they really get 50-100k+ reservations by then (currently at 47k), then I would expect it to take an additional 6 months or more to clear this order backlog.
My understanding is they are just now preparing to build an additional two dozen of their latest (P5) prototypes for testing, destructive testing.
I think the Elio is a good transportation concept for commuter use. Even with "cheap" gas, this is should be a very low total cost of ownership vehicle. That should always be attractive.