Rocket Fuel

No Paint, No Gain


From diehard gearhead to casual commuter, a vehicle’s paint is an important aspect to every kind of driver. The condition of the paint can tell you quite a bit about the driver, as well as the vehicle’s manufacturer. If the paint is in pristine condition, you can rightfully assume that both the driver and manufacturer take pride in the product. If the paint is chipped and weathered, the vehicle is likely an afterthought. At Elio Motors, the paint we will be using from our supplier BASF will be a point of pride for our customers.

BASF is the world’s largest chemical company and the 19th largest automotive supplier. As the largest chemical company in the world, BASF is the leader in a variety of industries, including agriculture, energy, pharmaceuticals, as well as automotive paint and coatings. BASF strongly believes in combining economic success and environmental responsibility and fits perfectly with the Elio Motors mission.

BASF is also very familiar with our manufacturing facility in Caddo Parish, Louisiana. For nearly thirty years, BASF worked with General Motors in our plant. As a matter of fact, the same robots used to paint many GM vehicles (think the Hummer H3 and the Chevrolet Colorado) may be used to paint the Elio.

Specifically, we will be using an E180 monocoat topcoat paint on the Elio. As we have mentioned in a past Momentum, the BASF paint is a two part Volatile Organic Compound and is mixed onsite in the “Paint Kitchen.” This particular paint has been used for over twenty years and has shown impressive durability and chip resistance.


The paint will be applied by Fanuc paint robots. More specifically, the paint is applied through an electrostatic process using rotary high-speed bell atomizers.  The rotary bell atomizers will spin between 10,000 and 70,000 revolutions per minute during the paint application process and allows for between 70% and 80% transfer efficiency to the body of the vehicle. This efficiency comes as a result of years of automotive experience and advanced, complex calculations For example, here’s just one of many equations that need to be solved to make this perform as outlined.


The paint robots are capable of painting all seven colors with little change time. The paint thickness will measure approximately 2 mil or .002”, which is less than half as thick than a dollar bill.

Based on completed testing performed by BASF, the paint has excellent adhesion rate, which leads to a higher quality finish. Additionally, through testing, we are confident in the vehicle’s chip and corrosion resistance. With proper care, the Elio’s paint will have the longevity that we have grown accustomed to on our vehicles over time.

A vehicle’s paint can say quite a bit about the driver and the company that built the vehicle. With support from our supplier BASF, we will produce a vehicle that drivers can take pride in.

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