Rocket Fuel

The Foundation: Our Unique Configuration


The list of noteworthy aspects of our vehicle can grow quite lengthy. Often, potential future Elio owners are attracted like a moth to a flame by our ultra-low base price, impressive gas mileage, and our mission to produce an American vehicle and create American jobs in the process. From a more simplistic standpoint, the futuristic look and unique configuration of our vehicle commands a considerable amount of attention. Today, from the archives,* we will take a deeper look at the configuration and styling of the Elio.

As we have said in the past, every decision we make regarding the vehicle must comply with the four “musts” that drive the project: uncompromised safety, great gas mileage, affordable price, and Made in America. By utilizing a front-to-back seating design, we can check all four boxes on the “musts” list.

Seating the driver and passenger front-to-back is a crucial factor in achieving our superior gas mileage. By halving the width of a typical four-wheel automobile, we are able to remove a considerable amount of wind resistance and drag. For the sake of visualization, picture throwing a sheet of paper. A sheet of paper is not exactly aerodynamic, but folding the paper into an airplane will cut down on wind resistance. Throw a flat piece of paper and then a paper airplane, you will experience getting more results for the same effort in action. The same principle applies to our vehicle.


The width (body) of the production vehicle will be 42.5″, considerably less than the average vehicle on the road today. Coupled with our fuel-efficient engine and styling, our configuration is a major factor in our fuel efficiency mission.

Our configuration also factors into our low base price. By having two seats instead of four (or more), three wheels instead of four, and a single door, we can pass along considerable savings to Elio Motors customers. Ultimately, having fewer components results in having lower costs.

Naturally, our unique configuration invites questions about the stability of the Elio. While our vehicle is half the width of the traditional passenger car, the wheelbase (110″) and wide front wheel track (66.8″) are comparable to most other vehicles. The Elio is engineered for a very high lateral “g-force” capability. Additionally, both traction and stability control come standard in the Elio, making sure that our vehicle is engineered to the highest safety standards.

The Elio may appear to be a shorter vehicle when viewed on your laptop or smartphone, but the length of the vehicle is actually 160.5”, which makes it comparable to the Ford Focus, Honda Fit and BMW 325. The length of the Elio enhances its safety by providing larger crumple zones in both the front and rear.


Future Elio owners are often interested in how to best utilize the distinctive Elio configuration for spacing purposes, often in terms of garage space. The Elio’s unique shape lets Elio Motors’ owners get creative with their vehicles. For instance, a household that owns 3 Elios can turn a two car garage into a three Elio garage (or a three car into a four car). How? The picture above shows the two Elios parked headfirst in a garage on the far left and right sides. Then, the last Elio could back in their Elio into the middle. Talk about efficiency!

Here is a listing of key exterior measurements:

  • Overall Length: 160.5″
  • Wheelbase: 110″
  • Overall Width: 75.5″
  • Vehicle Width: 42.5″
  • Track Width (center rim to center rim): 66.8″
  • Vehicle Height: 54.2″
  • Vehicle Ground Clearance: 5.75″

Our configuration is one of many features that makes our vehicle unique but is a particularly crucial factor in order for us to accomplish our goals.

* Originally published March 8, 2017

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