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  1. #1

    Buy an Elio with your gas savings

    http://www.fool.com/investing/genera...est-drive.aspx

    For those who may not know, the Elio is a three wheeled car thing with the passenger sitting behind the driver. It has a target of 84 mpg on the highway and 47 mpg in the city and cost $6,800. This article states the hope is to have it on the market by the end of 2016.

    Elio has this idea that when you buy one of these vehicles, one of their financing options will be to give you a credit card. You use that card to buy gas for your Elio, and the company will then triple your gas bill and keep the extra. So if you put $10 in the tank, they'll charge you $30 and knock $20 off your bill. Interesting idea, but how long would it take you to pay off the vehicle this way?

    My current commute is 30 miles round trip in a vehicle that gets 16 mpg. ($5/day at $2.50/gal) Let's just say 50 mpg in the elio to keep my numbers simple (my current 16 mpg beats the EPA's 13 mpg city so this may not be a bad guess) so what? 0.6 gallons per day at $2.50 / gal, $1.50 per day to commute, triple it to $4.50... $3 to Elio per day... $6,000 price of car, 2,000 days..... 5 and a half years assuming no interest. I don't math so my numbers could be wrong but truly if you finance less than half the price of the Elio in this way it doesn't seem like that crazy of an idea on the surface. Like the vehicle itself, this is an interesting idea but I have my doubts that it will ever make it to market.
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  2. #2
    tacotoy's Avatar
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    they have a whole display set up at flat irons, they might actually make it to mainstream.
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  3. #3
    The Original Opie-Gone-Bad!!! Aaron's Avatar
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    My brother is already on the waiting list. Has been on it since they offered one. The company has a crazed bunch of followers already. Brother keeps trying to convince me they will be the next Apple...

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron View Post
    My brother is already on the waiting list. Has been on it since they offered one. The company has a crazed bunch of followers already. Brother keeps trying to convince me they will be the next Apple...
    Don't know about the next apple but I like the finance option. Though I doubt it's as good as it sounds.

    I've wanted to build a super light single wide car with a VW TDI set up as a rear drive for a while. Not sure it'd work now that VW got busted though.
    Last edited by GPP33; September 20th, 2015 at 09:43 PM.

  5. #5
    I'm on the waiting list too.
    1997 Jeep Sahara, ORI's, 4:1, 39" Krawlers, Shaved Dana 60 front and 14 bolt, Custom 4-link front/rear, 120" WB
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  6. #6
    So, what motor is in it? Like GPP33, I'd love to see a small turbo diesel in it and I would think 100MPG is achievable.

    However with two kids, I need a 4-door wagon to go anywhere!
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  7. #7
    Dave McDonald's Avatar
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    I want one for a commuter, but there's too many times the roads here have crap in the middle of the road for the rear wheel to bounce over - either gravel, car parts, construction material or slush. I could see that three wheel bit being a real pain if you're counting on it year 'round.

    'Sides, I heard they used an old Metro for the prototype. Same 3 cyl I've got. The early ones even had the Geo's dashboard. I heard they redesigned the engine using Mercedes as a source. I figure I'm currently at 45 MPG mixed driving with the GDMF Geo, so this would be hard to justify even with the low price.
    Last edited by Dave McDonald; September 21st, 2015 at 07:48 AM.
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  8. #8
    Yeah, so is this car cheap enough to offset the cost of keeping and maintaining a 4-wheel vehicle to use in bad weather?

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by 74BuckinBronc View Post
    Yeah, so is this car cheap enough to offset the cost of keeping and maintaining a 4-wheel vehicle to use in bad weather?
    This. I can't imagine 1 wheel drive (I'm guessing it's only driven by the rear wheel?) is very good in snow.

  10. #10
    So the Elio "Car" is actually a motorcycle that takes up the space of a car in your garage but otherwise has all of the detriments of a motorcycle (to include the requirement to wear a helmet in states that have that law.)

    It's not as cheap as an Elio (in every sense of the word, I'd imagine) but the cool factor is about 10x higher:

    http://www.polaris.com/en-us/slingshot

    We've seen a few of these on the road and the wife can't stop talking about them. She had to get rid of her motorcycle 5 years ago due to a nerve condition but she said she'd love to try one of those.

    I've always said that when I get too old to ride a real motorcycle I'll just get a sidecar instead of a trike. Sidecar = awesome, Trike = Old Man Motorcycle
    Martin (AKA Zapp Branigan) KillBot (Retired)
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  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by ZappBranigan View Post
    So the Elio "Car" is actually a motorcycle that takes up the space of a car in your garage but otherwise has all of the detriments of a motorcycle...
    Not really. The Elio has/is supposed to have a roof, windshield (one rain can't get around), windshield wipers, heat, A/C and better crash protection than a motorcycle.
    Last edited by Jim B; September 21st, 2015 at 12:40 PM.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZappBranigan View Post
    So the Elio "Car" is actually a motorcycle that takes up the space of a car in your garage but otherwise has all of the detriments of a motorcycle (to include the requirement to wear a helmet in states that have that law.)

    It's not as cheap as an Elio (in every sense of the word, I'd imagine) but the cool factor is about 10x higher:

    http://www.polaris.com/en-us/slingshot

    We've seen a few of these on the road and the wife can't stop talking about them. She had to get rid of her motorcycle 5 years ago due to a nerve condition but she said she'd love to try one of those.

    I've always said that when I get too old to ride a real motorcycle I'll just get a sidecar instead of a trike. Sidecar = awesome, Trike = Old Man Motorcycle
    I got excited about the slingshot first time I saw one (a month or two ago) and looked up reviews online. They are not kind to thar machine. Chrap parts, squeeks, fit issues, underpowered, etc. The idea and look is awesome, execution leaves a lot to be desired.
    06 rubicon unlimited, Rokmen all around

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  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B View Post
    Not really. The Elio has/is supposed to have a roof, windshield (one rain can't get around), windshield wipers, heat, A/C and better crash protection than a motorcycle.
    Does it have air bags? Crumple zones? Side impact beams? Traction control? IOW does it have all the things that cars are legally required to have in order to be sold as cars?

    Because if it doesn't, then it's a motorcycle, no matter how it's marketed.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by ZappBranigan View Post
    Does it have air bags? Crumple zones? Side impact beams? Traction control? IOW does it have all the things that cars are legally required to have in order to be sold as cars?

    Because if it doesn't, then it's a motorcycle, no matter how it's marketed.
    Don't know and really don't GAFF. Since the Elio has some protection from the elements, you're incorrect in saying it has "all of the detriments of a motorcycle."

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by 74BuckinBronc View Post
    So, what motor is in it? Like GPP33, I'd love to see a small turbo diesel in it and I would think 100MPG is achievable.

    However with two kids, I need a 4-door wagon to go anywhere!
    The preproduction models have used some Geo motor, and are apparently hitting 70 mpg. They are making their own 3 cyl for it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlM5jWOnDO8

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B View Post
    This. I can't imagine 1 wheel drive (I'm guessing it's only driven by the rear wheel?) is very good in snow.
    It's front wheel drive.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by ZappBranigan View Post
    So the Elio "Car" is actually a motorcycle that takes up the space of a car in your garage but otherwise has all of the detriments of a motorcycle (to include the requirement to wear a helmet in states that have that law.)
    Not necessarily. Some states, like California, already have exceptions in the law for fully enclosed three wheeled vehicles.

    http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/di...le=27800-27803

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by ZappBranigan View Post
    Does it have air bags? Crumple zones? Side impact beams? Traction control? IOW does it have all the things that cars are legally required to have in order to be sold as cars?

    Because if it doesn't, then it's a motorcycle, no matter how it's marketed.
    yes (3). yes (front and rear), yes, yes, and no, it only has three wheels so it cannot be sold as a car as I understand it.

    Elio is saying they expect a 5 star safety rating. What that means, I'm not sure because I don't know how those tests work exactly. Do all vehicles have to hit the same sized object, or is what they're going to hit sized to the vehicle being tested? In other words, will it be tested against something small like a Smart ForTwo, or will it have to hit the same thing a Suburban hits?
    Last edited by MrMischief; September 21st, 2015 at 01:35 PM.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by MrMischief View Post
    It's front wheel drive.
    Seems odd to me. If it's FWD, what is the reason that it's a 3 wheeler? Historically (in England in particular) 3 wheelers were sold in the pre- and post-WWII era because they were cheap to make, with a simple chain drive (no differential necessary for the single drive wheel,) and they drove like a car but were taxed as a motorcycle, i.e. at a lower rate. Once people could afford cars, the demand for 3 wheelers disappeared.

    If this is FWD then it has the same drivetrain (transaxle with CV joints) as a regular FWD car so I'm wondering why they went with a less stable 3 wheel design vs 4?

    Call me skeptical but it seems to me that the material savings of a 3 wheeled vs a 4 wheeled vehicle can't be the only thing that contributes to the low cost and the high MPG, there must be some other corners being cut somewhere compared to a car.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by MrMischief View Post
    It's front wheel drive.
    Seems like a good idea.

  21. #21
    Clod Hopper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrMischief View Post
    yes (3). yes (front and rear), yes, yes, and no, it only has three wheels so it cannot be sold as a car as I understand it.

    Elio is saying they expect a 5 star safety rating. What that means, I'm not sure because I don't know how those tests work exactly. Do all vehicles have to hit the same sized object, or is what they're going to hit sized to the vehicle being tested? In other words, will it be tested against something small like a Smart ForTwo, or will it have to hit the same thing a Suburban hits?
    is the safety rating based on comparison to other similar style vehicles (ie standard motorcycles)? If so, I can easily see a 5 star, since motorcycles don't have airbags, impact beams, blah blah.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZappBranigan View Post
    Seems odd to me. If it's FWD, what is the reason that it's a 3 wheeler? Historically (in England in particular) 3 wheelers were sold in the pre- and post-WWII era because they were cheap to make, with a simple chain drive (no differential necessary for the single drive wheel,) and they drove like a car but were taxed as a motorcycle, i.e. at a lower rate. Once people could afford cars, the demand for 3 wheelers disappeared.

    If this is FWD then it has the same drivetrain (transaxle with CV joints) as a regular FWD car so I'm wondering why they went with a less stable 3 wheel design vs 4?

    Call me skeptical but it seems to me that the material savings of a 3 wheeled vs a 4 wheeled vehicle can't be the only thing that contributes to the low cost and the high MPG, there must be some other corners being cut somewhere compared to a car.
    The Reliant Robin (also taxed as a moto) was rear wheel drive to the rear wheels, still dirt cheap.
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  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Clod Hopper View Post
    is the safety rating based on comparison to other similar style vehicles (ie standard motorcycles)? If so, I can easily see a 5 star, since motorcycles don't have airbags, impact beams, blah blah.
    They are at the very least implying that they are referring to the safety rating used for all passenger vehicles. I have only been looking at this off and on for about 2 days now so my information is very limited, but it seems that Elio's goal is 5 star NHTSA rating. From what I read about those tests, they smash a car head on into a fixed barrier at 35 mph. They then do two side impact tests, one with a 3,000 lbs vehicle traveling at 38.5 mph and one with an impact into a pole. They also use math to determine the likelihood of a roll over (width X center of gravity? I don't math but I'm sure it's something like that). After they did all the smashing and mathing for the roll over, they then figure out an overall star rating.

    Here's an animation I found from Elio doing one of their crash test simulations. This simulation does not include the two side airbags.


  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by ZappBranigan View Post
    Seems odd to me. If it's FWD, what is the reason that it's a 3 wheeler?
    One of the things I saw Elio talk about was in regards to the 85 mpg on the highway. Basically the question was "how are you going to do that?" Elio's response was basically that by reducing the frontal area of the vehicle they can achieve better aerodynamic efficiency. I have no clue if this is why they went three wheeler but maybe? I suspect that it could also be there are fewer restrictions on them, not only safety but also EPA restrictions.
    Last edited by MrMischief; September 21st, 2015 at 05:51 PM.

  25. #25
    I wish 'em the best, but I have a hard time believing they can profitably sell those for $6,800.

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by MrMischief View Post
    The preproduction models have used some Geo motor, and are apparently hitting 70 mpg. They are making their own 3 cyl for it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlM5jWOnDO8
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    I started the test, lets go get some coffee and it might be done when we return
    LOL! Seriously tho, put a small turbo on it, which would increase HP and MPG I would think. I just don't have patience for slow...even if I only spent $6800. As the comments on youtube said "Hayabusa swap" FTW!

    Quote Originally Posted by MrMischief View Post
    One of the things I saw Elio talk about was in regards to the 85 mpg on the highway. Basically the question was "how are you going to do that?" Elio's response was basically that by reducing the frontal area of the vehicle they can achieve better aerodynamic efficiency. I have no clue if this is why they went three wheeler but maybe? I suspect that it could also be there are fewer restrictions on them, not only safety but also EPA restrictions.
    But if they were to duplicate the front suspension on the rear with some air foils, I can't see it adding enough weight or wind drag to make a difference. I agree that it might be better suited as a 4-wheeler in states that see any snow/hail, but that is clearly not the market they are targeting.

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B View Post
    I wish 'em the best, but I have a hard time believing they can profitably sell those for $6,800.
    Yeah, this too. And not only sell it profitably but also provide the infrastructure that people expect from a car company, i.e. a place to take it for service.

    Otherwise, it seems that spending $5,000 on a second hand Corolla or Focus would make more sense. It wouldn't get the claimed 85 MPG but then again, with gas prices cycling downward, is that much of a draw? And unlike the Elio, the Focus would be a 4 season car.

    I'm just not sure what market segment the Elio is supposed to appeal to. Super-cheap cars are popular in up-and-coming 3rd world nations like India but I'm not sure there's much of a market here where the Elio would be competing against a pretty robust used car market.

    Basically this seems like a motorcycle for people who are afraid of motorcycles. And again I have to ask - how big is that market?

  28. #28
    tacotoy's Avatar
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    hipsters..... just think hipsters

  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by MrMischief View Post
    http://www.fool.com/investing/genera...est-drive.aspx
    Elio has this idea that when you buy one of these vehicles, one of their financing options will be to give you a credit card. You use that card to buy gas for your Elio, and the company will then triple your gas bill and keep the extra. So if you put $10 in the tank, they'll charge you $30 and knock $20 off your bill. Interesting idea, but how long would it take you to pay off the vehicle this way?
    OK, I just read through this again and I'm wondering - how do they enforce this? IOW, what is to keep you from taking Elio's credit card plan, then filling your Elio using your OWN credit card and telling Elio to get stuffed? Is Elio carrying this note in perpetuity? Do they have enough cash to do that? Or do they assume that every person who buys an Elio is upstanding and honest and would never cheat the system?

    Seems like the only way this would work would be for Elio to have a minimum monthly payment of some kind and/or work out some kind of financing arrangement with a bank. And if you're going to do that, why not just have a regular payment system set up?

    Overall it seems cumbersome and unnecessary. The much easier way to do it would be like this: Have the salesman sit down with the buyer and figure out how much $$$ the customer will save every year by getting, say, 60 MPG average. Once you have that figured out, divide by 12 and there's the monthly savings that the customer has that can now be rolled into the payment. The effect would be the same - i.e. the savings on gas would pay for the car - but the difference is that it wouldn't depend on the honesty of the buyer to keep Elio from getting ripped off.

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