Any time a new use for an established product comes along, questions inevitably follow. For example, when the mobile version of the telephone was introduced, a multitude of questions followed. Some wondered about the practicality and efficiency of these new devices, while others fretted over the potential safety issues. Cell phones are now a ubiquitous aspect of everyday life and any questions regarding their viability seem borderline absurd. In the same vein, four-wheeled vehicles currently rule the road which leads to questions about the stability of some three-wheelers. Not all three-wheelers are created equal, but today’s Momentum will take a look at the aspects of the Elio that will make it equally as stable as other vehicles on the road today.
Some think of all three-wheeled vehicles the same, perhaps in large part to the Top Gear segment that featured a Reliant Robin. In this instance, having a single wheel in front does not lend itself to ideal stability. However, not all three wheelers are created equal.
The Elio is an entirely different vehicle. One of the main factors that keep the Elio stable is our reverse trike configuration, two wheels in the front, and the single wheel in the rear. The reverse trike configuration is inherently more stable than a conventional trike. Additionally, as our vehicle is front wheel drive, most of the weight is placed over the front wheels. Placing the powertrain in the front of the vehicle allows for a lower center of gravity for increased stability.
The Elio’s wheelbase (the center of the front wheels to the center of the rear wheel) is another important component to our stability. The Elio’s wheelbase is 110,’’ which is comparable to the Toyota Corolla and Hyundai Sonata. Additionally, the Elio’s front wheel track is 66.8’’, which is wider than the average car on the road today. Let’s compare to popular cars on the road today: the Toyota Camry is 63”, the Honda Civic is just under 61” and the Ford Fusion is just under 63”. Both measurements contribute to the Elio’s overall stability.
Both traction control and stability control are included as standard equipment. To date, simulations have shown that stability will not be an issue with the Elio in everyday driving conditions. The vehicle will be subjected to a wide variety of tests prior to the start of production to fine-tune the handling characteristics of the Elio.
Not only is the Elio a stable vehicle to drive, operating behind its steering wheel is a uniquely fun experience. It takes drivers mere seconds to become comfortable with the cockpit experience and getting accustomed to cruising down the center of the lane. The inherent understeer of the design gives the driver both the feeling of safety and responsive cornering ability.
The terms stability and exciting may seem incongruous, but we believe the Elio fits both. Combining a stable configuration and unique handling characteristics will provide Elio drivers peace of mind while they enjoy themselves while cruising down the road.