Bringing a revolutionary new vehicle to market can be likened to running a marathon. Both are arduous, long, and ultimately worthwhile endeavors. When running a marathon, the first and last miles may be the most exciting, but every single stride is of equal importance. Crossing the finish line is the culmination of every step and stride along the way. At Elio Motors, it has been our goal to include our supporters along the journey and show them each step and stride we take as we endeavor toward the finish line. Some steps require more unique solutions to challenges, like the engineering of the Elio’s wiper system.
Our unique configuration presents a unique set of challenges. One is the size and shape of the windshield. As the driver is the sole occupant in the front of the vehicle, the windshield is obviously narrower than a traditional vehicle.
In a traditional vehicle, the windshield’s width and height ratio allow for two wipers (or sometimes one large wiper) to work in unison to effectively clear the windshield of precipitation or debris. The Elio, with our front-to-back seating, has a unique windshield that is roughly half the size of a similarly sized car. The approximate measurements of the windshield are 33.25-inch wide at the base and 25.5-inches at the top and 29.75 inches overall height. With this reduction in size, the Elio could not use a traditional two wiper set-up and the challenge was set out for the Engineering team to solve this unique situation.
While having one single wiper can be a challenge, our engineers came up with an articulating system by using a linkage to lift the blade higher in the opposing corner to the pivot point of the wiper blade assembly. A four-bar linkage assembly is the key to providing sufficient coverage with our unique width to height ratio.
Valeo, a well-known name in the automotive industry, is our wiper system supplier. The wiper system has 5 speeds, similar to most vehicles on the road. The wiper blade is approximately 17 inches in length while the wiper arm assembly is approximately 30.5 inches. Additionally, the wiper system has three mounting locations to the vehicle with rubber isolators to eliminate vibration. The total system, which includes the wiper motor assembly, wiper arm assembly, and reservoir weighs only 3.58 lbs. Keeping the Elio lightweight is a pivotal factor in achieving superior fuel economy (hence the change from a single gallon replacement to a half-gallon reservoir) and our engineers are constantly looking for ways to reduce weight without sacrificing quality.
Having completed the engineering of the wiper system allowed us to plan its sequence in the assembly line. The wiper motor assembly and electric components will be part of the “Trim” section completed in Operation 12, the wiper blade assembly will be installed in Operation 13, and the washer bottle will be connected to the nozzle in Operation 14. This saves us time and resources in advance of production.
Each day, we make strides toward our ultimate goal. Producing a game-changing vehicle is a marathon and each and every step is vital to crossing the finish line.