Rocket Fuel

A Peek Inside the E1 Testing

E1-E1Happy Friday Elio’ers! A couple of weeks ago we discussed a change from “prototype” to “engineering” vehicles, the “P to E” blog, that shared a significant milestone in our progress.  In that blog, we discussed the E vehicles and our plan to share more information over the coming weeks. Well, this week we will add some color to the E1 process and how they will be used during the next step in our progress.

The E1 vehicles, E for engineering, are vehicles that we will use to move the Elio from a prototype to a production vehicle. The vehicles will be built with production in mind, and unlike the prototypes, will all be built basically at one time. The current plan is to build around 25 E1 vehicles. The E vehicles will be used for testing predominantly, although there is a huge push (from the Blog guy) to get a couple for marketing too!

So, what kinds of test will we do? We plan on doing what every manufacturer does as a normal course of bringing a vehicle to market.

How many tests is that? A lot. Without counting each test there has to be well over 100 on the schedule already. The tests will be in all major areas of the vehicle: electrical, powertrain, interior, durability, brakes, safety, performance, fuel, body and many more. Each of these areas will have multiple tests. Let’s look at a couple in more detail: safety and interior.


Safety is one of our four “must haves” drivers for Elio Motors and will be tested with that in mind. The safety tests, which are more than the simple “crash” tests, will be live vehicle tests that will match up with the simulations we have performed (and shared) to get to this point in our development. When all goes according to plan, the tests will verify the simulation outcomes. Some of the tests will be frontal crashes, side impacts, head restraint, sled tests, etc. Our plan is to do the same testing that the major auto manufacturers perform for the vehicles in their vehicle offering today.

The interior is another area that we often get questions about from our fans. The interior will probably have 4-5 vehicles that are used for tests. Some of the tests: controls and display (making sure you can see and reach everything that you need to), comfort, IP (instrument panel) development and verification, driver ergonomics (armrest at the right height, sight lines good etc.), manufacturing ergonomics (how the manufacturing team will put it all together), and fit and finish. These are the tests that lead to a positive driver experience which, by the way, is quite good as it sits today and will only get better.


So quick math tells you that is a lot of vehicles right there for only two types of tests. Here is where the engineering team gets creative. The vehicle to test ratio isn’t 1:1. We can use a single vehicle for several different tests and then send it to another group to use for their tests. One exception is destructive testing… once it is crashed into a wall, you do not want to then take that vehicle over to the ride and handling test. The results may be a little off after that. We can however, if we so choose, perform all types of ride and handling tests and then take it over to interior ergonomics. That is how the engineering team saves time and money during this process.

We will continue to share the process with you as we move forward.

The Preview Tour:

August 28-30 – Sonoma, CA – Sonoma Raceway – GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma

Thank you for your continued support!

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