TEDxDetroit Provides Exciting Feedback to Environmental Message
Elio Motors is a big idea.
And, sometimes, the best fuel for a big idea is to share it with other positive, like-minded people who also like big ideas.
Last week, Paul Elio had a chance to share his vision for Elio Motors before an enthusiastic crowd of more than 2,000 people at TEDxDetroit (TEDxDetroit Video Clip: Elio 1:12:30), an event specifically designed for sharing big ideas.
TEDx events are off-shoots of the original TED talks that started in the mid-1980s as a way to discuss technology, entertainment and design. Some of the most famous TED talks have been given by the likes of Bill Clinton and Bill Gates and are geared toward tackling major world challenges.
Of course, there’s no better place to talk about re-inventing how the world commutes than the Motor City. Paul laid out his vision for how the Elio can impact employment and the environment, while simultaneously lifting people out of poverty.
- Some will use the Elio as an “AND” vehicle – keep the functionality of their big vehicle AND use the Elio to commute solo to work.
- College students will use the Elio to commute to and from campus.
- The Elio is good for first-time drivers, as the front-to-back seating helps minimize distractions.
- And, it’s great for people who own “clunkers” – older, low-mileage vehicles that are prone to break down and are bad for the environment.
Interestingly, it was the “clunkers” message that resonated most with the TEDxDetroit crowd. Paul explained his vision for the “let your gas savings make your payments plan” and how it has the potential to get clunkers off the road. The plan would allow anyone with a vehicle that gets less than 27 MPG to trade in their vehicle for an Elio. They would receive a credit card to use with fuel purchases, but would be charged three times the amount of the actual purchase. One-third would go toward the fuel, the other two-thirds to paying off the vehicle.
“We can literally give vehicles away and get clunkers off the road,” Paul told the crowd.
They responded with enthusiastic applause, which surprised us a little. After all, this is a town that historically values horsepower and performance over miles-per-gallon and reduced emissions. If folks in the Motor City are on-board with our environmental message, then we must be on to something.
A large majority of our current reservation holders fall into the “AND” vehicle category and represent an older, more affluent demographic. The TEDxDetroit crowd was generally younger and more diverse than our current reservation holders. Their reaction reinforced two things:
- We have a great environmental story to tell; and,
- We have barely scratched the surface with who will be interested in our vehicle. There is definitely opportunity with young, idealistic people like those in attendance at TEDxDetroit.
As you know might know, we will be at the Los Angeles Auto Show next month. This show has historically had more of a “green” theme than most auto shows. It will be interesting to see how the West Coast environmental crowd reacts to the vehicle and our plans. We’re pretty sure they’ll like the idea of getting clunkers off the road, too!