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Shelbystar.com – Legislators define autocycle, cross between car and motorcycle

Legislators define autocycle, cross between car and motorcycle

And a Phoenix-based manufacturer wants your next commuter vehicle to have three wheels, two seats and cost you only around $6,800.

 

SOURCE: shelbystar.com

By, Kevin Ellis

Posted Jul. 26, 2015 at 3:01 PM

Phoenix-based Elio Motors could begin production of its three-wheeled autocycle next year. The vehicle would sell for about $6,800 and get 84 mpg. (Photo provided by Elio Motors)

Is it a car? Is it a motorcycle? No, it’s an autocycle.

And a Phoenix-based manufacturer wants your next commuter vehicle to have three wheels, two seats and cost you only around $6,800.

“It’s a ball to drive, an absolute ball. You’re sitting absolute dead center and you feel like you’re in complete control of the vehicle,” said Joel Sheltrown, vice president of Elio Motors, the company that hopes to revolutionize the roads next year when it begins production of its autocycle at its plant in Shreveport, La.

But before Elio Motors can put an autocycle in every driveway, it first needed to change the way North Carolina looked at the vehicle.

The company approached Rep. John Torbett, R-Gaston, to sponsor legislation that would define the autocycle for the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Torbett’s bill, signed into law last week by Gov. Pat McCrory, defines an autocycle as a “three‑wheeled motorcycle that has a steering wheel, pedals, seat safety belts for each occupant, antilock brakes, air bag protection, completely enclosed seating that does not require the operator to straddle or sit astride, and is otherwise manufactured to comply with federal safety requirements for motorcycles.”

For those who may want to own an Elio that law means drivers won’t need a special license nor will they need to wear a helmet.

The company approached Torbett, a motorcycle rider himself, because he has pushed for legislation that would make helmets an optional piece of safety equipment for motorcyclists.

“What fascinated me most was the affordability and the miles per gallon,” Torbett said. “I just saw it as an entry-level vehicle for metropolitan people who just need to get back-and-forth to work.”

The Associated Press describes the Elio as being the same length as the Honda Fit, but at half the cost.

Elio hopes to make 250,000 cars a year by 2016. That’s close to the number Mazda sells in the U.S., according to reports.

More than 44,000 people have already ordered one, Sheltrown said.

Because the autocycle has three wheels the government classifies it as a motorcycle.

But Sheltrown said it has all the safety equipment of an automobile.

The vehicle has front and side curtain airbag protection, three-point safety restraints, as well as a high-strength roll cage that completely surrounds the occupants, said Sheltrown.

Passengers in an Elio would sit behind the driver.

The vehicle will come with both an automatic and standard transmission, as well as other options.

The car will reach a top speed of 107 mph and will go from zero to 60 mph in just under 10 seconds, Sheltrown said.

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