An unfortunate incident no doubt, but keep in mind the ultra-frugal, three-wheeler was only a prototype.
Those working in marketing often say that any publicity is good publicity, but that’s just not true. Yes, this three-wheeled car from Elio Motors was only a prototype, but to some people that won’t matter. As a consequence, the incident which occurred during Road & Track’s test drive on the streets of New York City will likely have a negative impact on sales of the very economical city commuter.
It has been a long time in the making and the road to production has been quite bumpy, to say the least. The startup had more than 50,000 reservations by April 2016 and was likely hoping for an image boost following R&T’s test drive. However, with the front fender falling off after the three-wheeler drove over a road bump, things aren’t looking great for Elio Motors.
As R&T points out, the red Elio 3-Wheeler really felt like a prototype, from the semi-complete interior to the rattling of the pod fenders. In addition, the engine wasn’t working silky smooth, the exhaust was noisy, the “shift linkage was wonky,” and there was also a whiff of gasoline inside the cabin. As for the problematic front-left fender, it eventually got stuck under the tire and Bob Sorokanich from R&T was not able to steer the car anymore. He decided to stop the vehicle, and with help from cameraman Chris Perkins, they managed to set the fender free by pushing the car in reverse before driving slowly to the pre-established meeting point.
But that’s the case with many of these prototypes, not just from startups like Elio, but also from more established automakers. During the testing period, manufactures identify and iron out all of the issues in order to make sure the production-spec cars will be entirely reliable and functional.
We do hope the company will have the strength to bounce back after this unfortunate incident and will deliver a $6,800 vehicle that promises to return an amazing 84 miles per gallon. Production was originally supposed to kick off in 2014, but now it's scheduled to commence next year at a factory located in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Source: Road & Track