Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Elio - Mission Creep

I'm a fan of Paul Elio's commuter vehicle, having built something similar myself and found it to be a great deal of fun. The difference is that his looks like a carefully thought through vehicle, and mine looked like a fugitive from a Mad Max movie set.

I subscribed to the publicity flaks from their marketing department and I get a new on about twice a week now. The vehicle when I saw it, admittedly a beta prototype, was described as soon-to-be 70 hp and about 900 lb. This would have been a quite respectable power to weight ratio, putting the vehicle in there with the V-6 Honda Accord.

I noticed that the available horsepower has been declining which I suspect is a result of increasing weight as the items not included on the prototype got bolted on and the 84 MPG number remained inviolate. Here are some numbers for comparison:

Vehicle             Engine     Wt           HP        Wt/hp
Honda Fit         1500cc     2577lb     117hp   22.02
Elio, Current      900cc     1200         55        21.8
Ford Fiesta        1600        2578         120       21.48
Hyund.Velocitor 1600   2657         132       20.13
Honda Accord   2500     3200         170       18.82
Honda Accord   3500      3200         245        13.06
Elio P3               1000      900           70         12.8
Mustang V-6      3700      3501         305        11.47

I'm not bashing the Elio, I know exactly what they are going through. The current model now sports a climate control system, decent radio, and windshield wipers that the earlier prototype (P3) didn't have. I'm sure it has other stuff that doesn't show and normally doesn't get mentioned. This stuff adds up and when you start with so little weight, every pound is a much larger percentage of the total.

They have no announced plans for a "sport" model, but the easily available options are interesting.
Elio Sport1                    1000      1200             124(1)    9.67
Mustang SVT Cobra     4600       3780            390         9.69
Elio Sport 2                    1100      1200            200(2)    6.0

(1) Uses Ford EcoBoost 1000cc turbo motor, unmodified.
(2) Uses Suzuki Hyabusa motorcycle motor, unmodified.
NOTE: These are NOT offered by Elio motors, and would no doubt void the warranty. See your friendly local hotrod shop. Undying fame for the first Elio owner to document 200 mph.

Elio will be distributing through factory owned outlets same as Tesla. If you can't get the dealership, perhaps you can become their Carroll Shelby.

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