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Tech Talk v47 – Snow Problem? It’s No Problem!

Snow Problem? It’s No Problem!
While the Elio Motors executive offices are in Phoenix, our vehicle development headquarters, engineering team and much of our supplier base is in Detroit.In addition to the obvious advantage of having a lot of automotive talent at our disposal – it is after all the Motor City – our Detroit connection provides a somewhat underappreciated level of knowledge. They understand cold weather. And, they understand cold weather driving. That’s a good thing, because “How does the Elio perform in the snow?” is a common question for our northern fans.In a typical year, Detroit gets 42.7 inches of snow. And last year? More than 90 inches.

Trust us. Our Detroit team knows snow. Their knowledge has made a significant difference in our vehicle design and in how the Elio handles the snow.

Easier to pull than push

One solution to pulling a vehicle through the snow is to make it front-wheel-drive.
You know those Budweiser commercials where the Clydesdales pull the cart? There’s a reason those horses are up front instead of in back. Simple physics dictates that it’s easier to pull something than to push something.

That’s one of the most important features of front-wheel-drive vehicles. They literally pull a vehicle through the snow. High powered sports cars that are rear wheel drive don’t perform well in the snow at all. Sure, it’s a lot of fun to take a rear-wheel-drive-vehicle into a snowy (and empty) parking lot and do donuts, but that doesn’t make for a very safe ride. Front-wheel drive does.

ESC, ABS keeps it steady
Another important feature for driving in the snow, or any wet road conditions, is Electronic Stability Control. ESC improves a vehicle’s stability by detecting and reducing loss of traction. When ESC detects loss of steering control, it automatically applies the brakes to help “steer” the vehicle where the driver intends to go. Braking is automatically applied to wheels individually, such as the outer front wheel to counter oversteer or the inner rear wheel to counter understeer.The Elio also features Anti-Lock Brakes. ABS allows the wheels on a vehicle to maintain traction with the road, and prevents the wheels from locking up (ceasing rotation). This helps avoid uncontrolled skidding. The automated system automatically pumps the breaks, but at a much faster rate and with better control than a driver could manage manually.Of course, we know that seeing is believing. If you’ve not had the chance to check out our snow driving video, check it out here.

We readily admit that we are not a big four-wheel-drive SUV. We don’t advocate that you put a blade on the front of your Elio and go into the snow-plow business, for example.

But, if you want a vehicle that’s capable of cutting through the snow by using front-wheel-drive, ESC and ABS, we’ve got you covered. We’re confident the Elio will perform comparably with most of the passenger cars on the road today.

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