For any vehicle that uses gasoline as a power source, the exhaust system is an integral component. It is important to engineer a system which allows the exhaust to travel the least restrictive route. In previous iterations of our vehicle, we used a tube frame and a sheet molded composite (SMC) body, which prohibited us from routing the exhaust to the rear of the vehicle. Doing so would have significantly reduced our ground clearance. The initial solution was to route the exhaust down the side of the vehicle, under a shroud.
There are many advantages, however, to routing the exhaust in the traditional manner through the rear of the vehicle. Once we made the improvement to a unibody frame, this more traditional exhaust route became a possibility. The unibody frame has created a natural path for the exhaust to exit out near the rear tire on the right side (non-door side). This change has led to several important improvements for our customers, as well as operational benefits.
By routing the exhaust to the rear of the vehicle, we were able to eliminate the exhaust cover which will reduce noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) of the ride. This ensures that Elio owners will enjoy a smoother and more peaceful ride.
Enclosing the exhaust on the side of the vehicle could create a tremendous amount of heat. This level of heat can impact the parts surrounding the exhaust. Re-routing the exhaust enhances the longevity of the vehicle and its parts.
Better Looking Ride
When the exhaust was enclosed on the side of the vehicle, it necessitated a bulging cover on the side of the vehicle. Routing the exhaust to the rear of the vehicle removes this need, making for a more symmetrical and aesthetically pleasing Elio.
Fewer Parts and Less Weight
Keeping the Elio as light as possible is critical to achieving our mileage goals. Every pound counts, and removing the exhaust cover and changing the routing reduces the weight by approximately 1.5 pounds. This direction removes the need for additional fasteners, as well as rubber insulator between the exhaust cover and body panels.
This improvement is also important to the manufacturability of our vehicle and can save significant time in manufacturing. Routing the exhaust traditionally helps reduce the cycle time for assembly and removes a station at the plant. This allows for a simpler system for assembly of the exhaust. Also, the labor time needed for the exhaust cover can now be spent in other areas.
Making our vehicle easy to repair is important to us as well, and this change makes the vehicle even simpler to repair.
The changes we have made to the exhaust routing of the vehicle may seem simple, but when added up result in a smoother, more pleasing vehicle that is easier to repair and manufacture.