Elio Starts Build on Prototype with Production Drivetrain
SOURCE: The Truth About Cars
In today’s crowdsourced and Instagrammed era, companies are always looking to create some buzz, so Elio Motors can be excused for publicizing the fact it’s starting to build its fifth prototype of its proposed super-economical enclosed tandem reverse trike. Actually, it’s a fairly significant step as what they are calling P5 will be the first Elio vehicle powered by Elio’s own IAV designed 0.9L three-cylinder engine, driving the front wheels via the Aisin supplied manual transmission to be fitted to production cars. In line with building buzz by parceling out information, Paul Elio told TTAC the P5 will also have revised front end styling that will be revealed later this week.
Though our friends at Jalopnik say that the P5 Elio has been already built, that’s not the case.
Fabrication has indeed started at the same suburban Detroit shop that built P1 through P4. When asked when their latest prototype would be finished, Paul Elio said he didn’t want to give a specific time frame because they’re pushing to meet a somewhat unrealistic, accelerated schedule and they don’t want the attendant bad publicity from missing a published deadline. Prototypes almost always take longer to build than planned, but Paul’s hoping that by pushing to do it in half the time, they’ll be able to at least finish ahead of a normal schedule. Elio did say the P5 would be introduced within the next few months.
Assuming the P5 meets their benchmarks and Elio raises enough money, it will be followed by 25 additional pre-production prototypes that will be used for testing, including endurance runs and crash testing, once Elio and NHTSA come up with protocols appropriate for a reverse trike.
Interestingly, Elio Motors’ press release on their new prototype specifically mentions it is being funded by new investors brought in with the 506 (c) offering they announced just two months ago. That program allows private investors with at $2 million or more in assets or an established income greater than $200K/yr to invest at least $15,000 in Elio Motors.
Elio Motors appears to be gaining credibility. When the project was first announced, comment threads on posts about Elio were filled with scoffers and skeptics. Now, people are complaining that smaller investors won’t be able to get in on the ground floor, with some even mentioning Tesla’s stock and Elio’s potential in the same breath.
Paul Elio said he’d be happy to give TTAC access to the prototype build as they reach significant stages in the fabrication. Check back for details.
Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS