Wednesday, October 1, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Three-wheeled Elio gets closer to going on sale

By
From page A12 | August 22, 2014 |

Three Wheeled Commuter Vehicle

The Elio, a three-wheeled prototype vehicle offers commuters a cheaper option to drive to work. AP photo

ROYAL OAK, Mich. (AP) — Your next commuter car could have two seats, three wheels and get 84 miles to the gallon.

Elio Motors wants to revolutionize U.S. roads with its tiny car, which is the same length as a Honda Fit but half the weight. With a starting price of $6,800, it’s also less than half the cost.

Phoenix-based Elio plans to start making the cars next fall at a former General Motors plant in Shreveport, Louisiana. Already, more than 27,000 people have reserved one. Elio hopes to make 250,000 cars a year by 2016. That’s close to the number Mazda sells in the U.S.

Because it has three wheels — two in front and one in the rear — the Elio is actually classified as a motorcycle by the U.S. government. But Elio Motors founder Paul Elio says the vehicle has all the safety features of a car, like anti-lock brakes, front and side air bags and a steel cage that surrounds the occupants. Drivers won’t be required to wear helmets or have motorcycle licenses.

The Elio’s two seats sit front and back instead of side by side, so the driver is positioned in the center with the passenger directly behind. That arrangement, plus the low seating position — the Elio is just 54 inches tall — and the lack of power steering take a little getting used to.

But after a couple of spins around the block in this Detroit suburb, it felt like any other small car. That’s partly because its two front wheels stick out by a foot on both sides, aiding balance and preventing the vehicle from tipping. The Elio has a three-cylinder, 0.9-liter engine and a top speed of more than 100 miles per hour. It gets an estimated 84 mpg on the highway and 49 mpg in city driving.

Elio keeps the costs down in several ways. The car only has one door, on the left side, which shaves a few hundred dollars off the manufacturing costs. Having three wheels also makes it cheaper. It will be offered in just two configurations — with a manual or automatic transmission — and it has standard air conditioning, power windows and door locks and an AM/FM radio. More features, such as navigation or blind-spot detection, can be ordered through Elio’s long list of suppliers.

Germany’s Daimler also promised to revolutionize American commutes with the Smart car, but that hasn’t panned out, says Karl Brauer, a senior analyst with Kelley Blue Book. Smart sold just 9,264 cars in the U.S. last year.

The Smart has a starting price of $13,270 for a gas-powered car and gets 38 mpg on the highway — not enough savings or fuel economy to justify sacrificing comfort in the tiny car. But, Brauer said, the equation might work in the Elio.

“If it really gets 84 mpg and doesn’t drive terribly, it would justify the compromises you’re making in size and comfort,” he said.

Elio will also save money by selling the cars directly through its own stores and not through franchised dealers, similar to electric car maker Tesla Motors. Elio plans stores in 60 major metropolitan areas. They’ll be serviced by car repair chain Pep Boys.

Paul Elio, a one-time stockbroker and New York City cab driver, dreamed as a kid that he would one day own a car company called Elio Motors.

“As I matured I decided that was as likely as playing in the NFL,” Elio told The Associated Press. But he did earn an engineering degree at General Motors Institute — now Kettering University — and started his own company engineering products like children’s car seats.

In 2008, tired of high gas prices and the country’s dependence on foreign oil, he started working on a fuel-efficient car. Equally important to him was creating U.S. manufacturing jobs and making the car inexpensive enough to appeal to buyers who might otherwise be stuck in old, unreliable clunkers.

“Whatever matters to you, this can move the needle on it,” he said.

The recession killed his engineering company, but it also provided the opportunity to buy the Shreveport plant when GM filed for bankruptcy protection. Elio Motors plans to employ 1,500 people at the plant.

The company has also applied for a $185 million advanced vehicle development loan from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Paul Elio said so far, reservation holders are older, more affluent buyers who will use the Elio as a second or third car for commuting.

“It’s an ‘and’ purchase for a lot of folks,” he said. “So keep your SUV or your minivan or your large sedan, and when you’re driving back and forth to work all by yourself, take the Elio. At this price point and this mileage, that works financially for folks.”

Eventually, though, he believes the car will appeal to high school and college students as well as used-car drivers who want something newer and more reliable. He also hopes to eventually export it to other countries.

————

By Dee-Ann Durbin, AP Auto Writer

Comments

comments

The Associated Press

.

News

Sanity phase begins in Daniel Marsh trial

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1

 
Council looks at granny-flat revision

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

Man on a mission: transform Davis

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Poppenga outlines ambitious agenda

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Cool Davis Festival is très chill

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Standing In: Is the therapy for them, or me?

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A2

California exhausts initial firefighting budget

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Brown allows new local development financing tools

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Find the perfect club or organization to join

By Enterprise staff | From Page: C2 | Gallery

 
California becomes first state to ban plastic bags

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Forum examines Props. 1 and 2 on November ballot

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Assembly candidates will be at Woodland forum

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Pets of the week

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

California approves landmark ‘yes means yes’ law

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Try out basic yoga on Thursday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

DCC welcomes students with free lunch

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Gibson House hosts plant sale and garden event

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Register to vote by Oct. 20

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Covell Gardens breakfast benefits Komen Foundation

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Put your hoes down and celebrate the harvest

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Panelists discuss raising children with special needs

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

 
DCC hosts fair-trade gift sale on Oct. 11

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Number of wheels: How many bicycles do you have in your household?

By Enterprise staff | From Page: C5 | Gallery

 
Emerson gives away old textbooks

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

Downtown history tour planned in October

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Fraud Awareness Fair set Oct. 15 in West Sac

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

UCD, University College Dublin will cooperate on food, health

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

 
Accessibility technology on exhibit at fair

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Woodland PD seeks volunteers for ViP program

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

DMTC makes musical theater accessible to everyone

By Bev Sykes | From Page: C9 | Gallery

 
Take home a wreath from Davis Flower Arrangers’ meeting

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

Snapshot: A night out with the neighbors

By Enterprise staff | From Page: C10

 
Davis school names reflect interesting history

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: C12

Snapshot: Plenty of places to park it

By Enterprise staff | From Page: C14

 
Snapshot: Dive into Davis fun

By Enterprise staff | From Page: C15

Snapshot: Kick garbage to the curb

By Enterprise staff | From Page: C16

 
Snapshot: Sounds like a party

By Enterprise staff | From Page: C17

.

Forum

It takes two to lambada

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
He seems happy at home

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

The great bedtime conspiracy

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
They’re best-prepared to lead

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Vibrant and hard-working

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Archer has the right stuff

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

 
Get on your bikes to meet Davis’ greenhouse gas goals

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Marsh case shows need for ‘Maupin’s Law’

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
.

Sports

Only 15 months out of UCD, Runas off to LPGA Tour

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Davis golfers get teaching moments in forfeit win

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

‘Playoff game’ or missed chance? Either way the Aggies move on

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Devils move atop league standings with win

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Two Junior Blue Devil squads emerge victorious

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

 
.

Features

.

Arts

 
Woodland artist hosts event at her new studio

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

I-House film series continues with ‘Monsieur Lazhar’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
‘Art Farm’ exhibition will open in Woodland

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

Pleasant Valley Boys cool down Picnic in the Park

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
Acclaimed guitarist Peppino D’Agostino to play The Palms

By Landon Christensen | From Page: A9

.

Business

.

Obituaries

Danelle Evelyn Watson

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Michael Allen Hanks Baxter

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Anne Elizabeth Elbrecht

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Tuesday, September 30, 2014 (set 1)

By Creator | From Page: B5

 
Comics: Tuesday, September 30, 2014 (set 2)

By Creator | From Page: B7