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Fact or Fiction? 3-wheel, $6,800 Elio praised, panned

The concept for the planned Elio Motors 3-wheeler planned in 2015

Reservations for the Elio Motors’ three-wheel, $6,800 vehicle have surpassed 11,000, according to its website, with varying levels from $100 to $1,000 as the manufacturer  continues to market the futuristic concept around the country.

Paul Elio, the company owner and CEO said in recent press release the increasing interest means the public is “clamoring for the new type of transportation.”

Touting the unnamed vehicle’s estimated 84 mph in highway driving and hopeful 5-star crash test safety, Elio said:

“The vehicle is perfect for individual commuters looking for an inexpensive and fuel efficient mode of transportation, but who also yearn for a unique expression of their passion for driving.”

The concept for the planned Elio Motors 3-wheeler planned in 2015
The concept for the planned Elio Motors 3-wheeler planned in 2015

However, the pending machine, with an expected public release in 2015, has received polarizing reaction from the automotive industry. It’s been touted by mainstream car review sites and criticized by green energy proponents.


“Despite industry heavyweights including Altair Engineering, IAV, and NEWTECH 3 involve, a claimed 84 MPG fuel economy rating, a (dubiously anticipated) 5-star safety rating, and a starting price of just $6,800, I think Paul Elio’s little endeavor will fail. Scratch that. Elio Motors will utterly fail, completely fail, and embarrassingly fail.” — Jo Barras,


‘So, bottom line, is Elio Motors a scam? I don’t know. I don’t think so, the vehicle makes sense to me and they might just be able to build it at their target price point,  but until we see a production vehicle in the hands of a retail customer, we’ll never know for sure.” — Ronnie Schreiber,

Although the Elio engine is still in development, the current prototype has a GEO Metro engine. Representatives debuting the vehicle on top-60 market tour around the country, note the final engine will be 55-60 horsepower with 55 pound-feet of torque. The 0-60 mph is estimated at about 9.5 seconds with the top speed of more than 100 mph.

The production vehicle is projected to weigh an estimated 1,200 pounds. It will have a roll cage and crumple zones to absorb frontal and rear impact.

Elio By The Numbers:

* 84 miles per gallon with a gas-powered three-cylinder engine;

* Seats two in tandem;

* Price: $6,800;

* Air conditioning, heat, power windows and lock, AM/FM stereo radio;

* ABS brakes, air bags, traction control, stability control;

* Three-Year, 36,000 mile warranty;

* Engineered for “five-star” crash test rating.

For more information, visit


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