Three-wheeled vehicle startup Elio Motors is hoping that the fourth time is a charm.
Author: Danny King
The company, which is preparing to sell its super-fuel-efficient vehicles to the American public, said Thursday that it has completed its "fourth and final" design stage of engineering. With its chassis design dialed in, Elio is looking to start testing the vehicle for safety and ride dynamics.
Founded in 2009, Elio continues to make progress towards some revenue generation. So far this year, the company raised $17 million with a stock sale and started trading shares on the over-the-counter stock market. Elio has also tapped high-end auto engineer Roush to help out with the design process. Granted, federal regulators indicated earlier this year that they may boost safety mandates for car-like trikes like the Elio, and the company reported in an SEC filing earlier this year that it's lost almost $54 million. Still, the company is going full speed ahead, and says its design and its independent suspension layout reduces weight and gives the vehicle a lower profile and better aerodynamics cars that use MacPherson struts.
In fact, the company, which has taken more than 50,000 reservations for the trikes, said last month that it will sell 100 pre-production vehicles by the end of the year, though that means the lion's share of deliveries have been pushed back to next year. Elio, which showed off versions of the trike both at last year's New York and Los Angeles Auto shows, initially pegged a debut date at 2014, though the company is not alone among startup automakers in missing launch deadlines by a matter of years.
As we've reported, Elio says the trikes will be base-priced at $6,800 and will get a whopping 84 miles per gallon. The company will build the vehicle in a factory in Shreveport, Louisiana. Take a look at Elio Motors' press release below.
Elio Motors three-wheeler due 2014 for 6,800 USD [video]
Elio Motors Completes Final Stage of Engineering for E-Series Vehicles with Chassis Design
Engineering data complete for build of E-Series vehicles; 'real-world,' crash testing next to meet vehicle validation requirements before commercial production
PHOENIX, April 28, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Elio Motors, Inc. (OTCQX: ELIO), the startup vehicle manufacturer planning to launch a three-wheeled vehicle that will get up to 84 MPG with a targeted base price of $6,800, today announced it has completed its fourth and final stage of engineering for its E-Series vehicles with the completion of its chassis design. The vehicles will be used to complete real-world vehicle validation and ride dynamics testing and calibration, as well as safety validations, in advance of commercial production.
"This achievement, which is the final step in our engineering process for the E-Series of vehicles, further validates the flexibility and agility of our Elio Motors-supplier product development process," said Paul Elio, founder and CEO of Elio Motors. "Roush, which joined the team in January, has done a tremendous job on the design of the chassis and suspension, as well as managing the overall engineering process working at what seems like lightning speed."
Jeff Johnston, vice president of Engineering for Elio Motors, said the work that's been done on the E-series design to this point by the Chassis Product Development Team, including the geometry development, noise, vibration and harshness refinements and finite element analysis, has been prolific and has prepared it for some real-world testing.
"Once our E-Series vehicles emerge from the pilot build, the Chassis team will conduct ride and handling development tuning to refine the vehicle's driving characteristics prior to commercial production," Johnston said. "When this real-world and destructive testing is complete, the team will be charged with continual chassis and suspension development for model-year updates."
Johnston said the Elio has an independent suspension consisting of unequal upper and lower control arms, incorporating a coil-over shock absorber design in the spirit of some of the world's leading performance vehicles. This provides a low profile for better aerodynamics and lower weight than MacPherson struts, one of the most common suspension types for light vehicles. The rear suspension utilizes a swing arm, also with a coil-over shock system.
The continued progress with the E-Series build comes on the heels of a busy first quarter for Elio Motors. Among the company's highlights:
Elio Motors raised nearly $17 million in a Regulation A+ stock sale.
Elio Motors stock began trading on the OTCQX market, making Elio Motors the first company to raise money through Regulation A+ and have its shares go public.
Elio Motors announced its innovative ePlus options ordering system at the New York International Auto Show.