By the end of next year, you might be doing a double take when you see the new Elio car driving around on a street near you. Why you ask? Well, it only has three wheels (two in front and one in back). And it’s small — about 13′ long and 54″ high. The Elio is the same length as a Honda Fit, but only half the weight. With a starting price of $6,800, it’s also less than half the cost. The car looks weird with only three wheels, but Elio Motors is claiming their car gets about 84 mpg on the highway and 49 mpg in the city. That is amazing.
Elio Motors plans fo manufacture the car next fall at a former General Motors plant in Shreveport, Louisiana. So far, over 27,000 people have reserved one. Elio Motors hopes to make 250,000 cars a year by 2016. That seems a bit ambitious when you consider that number is close to the number Mazda sells in the U.S.
The Elio only has one door, on the left side, which shaves a few hundred dollars off the manufacturing costs. Having three wheels also makes it cheaper. the car will be offered in only two configurations — manual or automatic transmission. Standard features include air conditioning, power windows and door locks and an AM/FM radio. Other features include anti-lock brakes, front and side air bags and a steel cage that surrounds the occupants. Options like navigation or blind-spot detection can be ordered through suppliers.
The Elio has a three-cylinder, 0.9-liter engine and a top speed of more than 100 miles per hour. Only two people can fit in the car — the driver and a passenger that sits directly in a seat behind the driver.
The gas tank of the Elio only holds eight gallons. But at 84 mpg, that means the car can travel about 672 miles between refuels.
Because the Elio only has three wheels, the car is actually classified as a motorcycle by the U.S. government. However, drivers won’t be required to wear helmets or have motorcycle licenses.
More info: Elio Motors