Elio Motors gets last gas as cow fart criticism backfires

Michael James

Elio Motors founder Paul Elio.

The automotive car culture website Jalopnik is often a clever read. It makes fun of the car industry when it’s well-deserved. However, it’s been overtly skeptical of Elio Motors.

Its writers have posted often that the plans of company owner Paul Elio to introduce in 2015 a $6,800, three-wheel car that gets 84 mpg and can accelerate to 100 mph are dubious at best.

The latest sarcasm by Jalopnik about Elio Motors occurred on Earth Day, April 22. The site poked fun at Elio’s press release that touted the car’s latest attribute.

Overhead views of the Elio Motors concept vehicle.
Overhead view of the Elio Motors’ concept vehicle.

Elio, obviously with tongue firmly planted in cheek (but also with a degree of seriousness) announced its car is “cleaner than cow farts.”

Jalopnik wrote Elio Motors was simply trying to “drum up business,” as if that’s a bad thing.

Well, Jalopnik, while making fun of Elio, also did exactly what Elio hoped. It posted an article about the claim.

But with its sarcasm biting, the site also looked foolish. Jalopnik described the pending Elio vehicle as an “electric three-wheeler.”

There’s one problem: The Elio vehicle has a gas-powered engine.

Here’s what Elio wrote:

“One cow produces 242 lbs of methane a year through burps and flatulence. Methane traps 20 times more heat than CO2 over a 100-year period. (SOURCE: Get Green Living) In a year, the average cow will emit 4,840 lbs of CO2 equivalent greenhouses gases. Elio Motors’ vehicle, driven 20,000 miles, will emit only 4,500 lbs. of CO2. And thus, the Elio Motors’ vehicle is cleaner than cow farts.

And here’s what Jalopnik wrote:

“So if a cow is a form of transportation you are considering right now, you’d better hold off and see if Elio Motors can make a car for you next year. No word if a cow fart comparison will be a new requirement for new car window stickers.”

Jalopnik is a successful automotive website. Its humor is refreshing, particularly in an industry that takes itself quite seriously.

But in this instance, Jalopnik’s criticism of Elio smells a little like . . . cow farts.


Article Last Updated: April 23, 2014.

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