If you’ve been paying attention to the news lately, you’ve likely noticed a “Made in America” movement. At Elio Motors, our mission is driven by the desire to engineer and design an American product and create American jobs. This is evidenced by the decision to build the vehicle in the USA, and the plan to employ 1,500 American workers at our production facility in Shreveport, Louisiana, with the goal of 90% North American content utilization. Our mission will indirectly create other American jobs and products. A notable example is Continental Tire, a world-class automotive supplier, who will supply Elio Motors with our tires. Continental Tire is currently not making the tire for the Elio in the USA but has agreed to move the manufacturing to the USA for Elio Motors to Sumter, South Carolina. The Made in America movement is not only driving Elio Motors’ decisions: our partners are also seeing the benefit and are joining with excitement and fervor.
We have shared the specs of the tires before, but below is a deeper look at the current specifications for the tires on your Elio.
The first decision was what tire to choose for the Elio. Continental Tire has infinite blends and options available to them when working with a manufacturer like Elio Motors. How soft, how hard, how long lasting, sound level, rolling resistance, and countless other choices are available. We chose the Continental ProContact GX tires. There are several significant features and benefits to the ProContact GX tires. First, it offers OE optimized construction, ensuring optimum performance that is tuned to the Elio. Secondly, the low density under the tread compound cushions the ride, meaning that more impact and vibration is absorbed by the tire, creating a smoother ride. The ProContact GX tire has wide sipe (groove) density, which increases the grip in all weather conditions. Also, our tires feature a blocking rib on the inside of the shoulder, which blocks sound waves from leaving the contact patch, which significantly reduces road noise. The tire is currently on the road, hitting one of our goals of using existing parts where applicable and finally, and perhaps most importantly, the low rolling resistance is important to achieving our impressive fuel efficiency.
Tire Size: 135/80 R15
Rim Size: 4×15
Tire Brand: Continental ProContact GX
Rim Size: 4×15
Diameter: nominal 597 mm
Width: nominal 138 mm
Rolling radius: 290 mm
Weight = 12.7 lbs.
Rear (duplicate style from above)
175/65 R15 ProContact GX(Rim: 5.5×15)
Diameter: nominal: 609 mm
Width: nominal:182 mm
Rolling radius: 296 mm
Weight = 16.1 lbs.
As you may have noticed, the rear tire is 30% wider than the front tires. This decision was supported through the use of Computer Aided Design (CAD) testing and Continental Tires’ expertise. Using CAD and expertise we found two main reasons for using different sizes on the front and rear of the Elio. First, a wider tire size on the rear tire helps with transient maneuvers during lane changes. Secondly, the rear tire is wider to assist braking with one wheel in the rear (a wider tire increases the amount of friction applied by the tire to the road.)
We are often asked if the Elio will come with a spare tire and about the difficulty of changing the tires. Similar to most new vehicles, the Elio will not come with a spare tire. A small percentage of the population knows how to change a tire, and a smaller percentage is willing to do so. Additionally, a spare tire would add weight and cost to the vehicle. We will offer a “flat repair kit” as an option for Elio owners that want that extra peace of mind.
Changing the tires will be easy for DIY Elio owners. To change the front tire, simply remove the four bolts which hold the front fenders on the vehicle for access to the tire. To change the rear tire, remove the four screws from the rear center fairing, then lift and remove the side fairing(s), which has a hook to lock it in. Currently, a technician is able to remove the rear tire in less than 6 minutes.
Creating American jobs and using American components are not impossible goals. Together, with suppliers like Continental, we aim to show that America can once again be a place where things are made with American hands.