E-Series Vehicles: Tough Testing Makes The Elio Ready for Primetime
It’s August and, if you are a football fan, it’s a great time of year. The National Football League regular season is right around the corner.
Right now, in 32 camps across the country, NFL teams are working out the kinks and fine-tuning their offenses, defenses, and special teams, all in an effort to get ready for the real kickoff in September.
In a sense, that’s the phase we’re in with the E-Series vehicles. Much like a coaching staff draws up plays and strategies, our engineers have developed a great design. In football, it takes a well-run, intense training camp to get everything working the way it’s intended. For Elio Motors, moving from prototype to production means testing and validating our design using the E-Series. But, instead of running wind sprints, we’ll be spending time in the wind tunnel.
This is when we go from concept to reality. Frankly, it’s one of the most important phases in our history. We’ll be smashing vehicles, slamming doors and hoods, testing in brutal heat and arctic cold. Heck, we’ll even be pelting our own vehicles with rocks. It’s all an effort to make sure our vehicles meet and even exceed your expectations.
The First Five: Brakes, Chassis, Engine, Integration Vehicle, and Marketing
Our current plan is to build 23 E-Series vehicles overall. This will be done in two waves of five and 18 vehicles respectively.
The first E-Series vehicle is complete — the E1A, which we introduced on June 30. The E1A is currently at Continental, where one of the world’s foremost safety engineering teams is fine-tuning the Elio’s braking system.
Paul Elio introduces the E-Series E1A vehicle at a supplier meeting June 30th in Livonia, Mich.
The next two vehicles will be built out of sequence – the E1D and the E1E. These vehicles will be used for chassis and engine testing. These test vehicles do not require every single Elio part to perform the needed testing. Therefore, we’ll be able to complete them a little sooner than the E1C, which will be used for marketing purposes.
The E1D and E1E vehicles will be built next — out of sequence — to allow chassis and engine testing.
The Next 18: Slamming, Skidding and Impact Testing Our Way to Success
Once we get through the brake, engine, and chassis tweaks, the real fun begins. Vehicles E1F through E1W will go through a gauntlet of tests for durability, aerodynamics, and safety. Here are just a few of the tests these vehicles will endure:
Wind Tunnel Testing
Reaching our target goal of up to 84 MPG requires maximizing our aerodynamics. This will require hours in the wind tunnel where minute details from the angle of the windshield to the width of the mirror will be tested and retested.
Extreme Temperature Tests
The Elio needs to work in the Phoenix heat, the Alaskan cold, and everything in between. We’ll test the vehicle in both extremes, making sure all the systems work properly whether its 120 degrees or minus 20 degrees.
Interior Driver Interaction
You’ve got to be comfortable in your Elio, right? We’ve got that covered too, as the E-Series will go through a litany of ergonomic tests to make sure the seats work and the controls are within reach.
The E-Series will be tested for braking, cornering, acceleration, and top speed.
Door Slam/Deck Slam
How do you know the vehicle’s doors and trunk will work time and time again? Slam them shut over and over again. These tests will measure all the components in the door and trunk systems and how they stand up to long-term wear and tear.
Sure, it barely rains in our home in Phoenix, but we want people in Seattle to drive an Elio too! We’ll run the wipers again and again until they’re slappin’ out a tempo like the old Eddie Rabbit song to make sure that they work over the long haul.
Noise, Vibration, and Harshness
Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH) testing is where we work on removing all the shakes, rattles and squeaks.
We also want to make sure your Elio paint job lasts, too. We’ll go so far as pelting it with road salt and rocks to see how the paint job holds up.
For those of you who remember Vince and Larry, the public service announcement crash dummies, well, maybe we’ve got a job for them here. Even though we are not required by law, safety testing is extremely important to our long-term goals. We’ll be taking the E-Series vehicles and subjecting them to many of the same rigorous impact tests that NHTSA mandates for vehicle manufacturers.
Like we said, it’s a gauntlet of tests. But, like those tough two-a-day practices that give a football team its edge, we’re in the vehicle version of training camp. And, we’ll work our tails off to make these the best vehicles possible.