Elio Motors Reveals E1c Prototype at LA Auto Show (w/ Video)

 

2017 Elio Motors E1C Prototype at LA Auto Show

You really do have to hand it to Paul Elio. Even if the whole thing is a long con and not a single Elio trike ever rolls out of the old GM plant down in Shreveport, the man has delivered a convincing concept car to the LA Auto Show. Called the Elio Motors E1c, it may be an accomplishment that’s a few years behind schedule, but it shouldn’t be one that passes without comments. And, as you might have already guessed by now, I love to comment on Elio.

 

Elio Motors E1c | Looks Good


A few things are evident from Roberto Baldwin’s excellent AOL/Engadget photo gallery. I’ll let you discover how good-looking the Elio E1c is (or isn’t, I guess) on your own. I did, however, want to point out a few things in the three photos I picked, above.

First, the interior on the Elio Motors E1c shown at the LA Auto Show over the weekend is vastly, hugely improved. The E1c is worlds ahead of the kit-carish jumble I saw in Las Vegas. This is what a pre-production unit should look like, and the upgraded interior alone will go a long way towards convincing even the most determined un-believers that Elio has- finally!- hired some people that know how to build a car.

Second, it’s worth pointing out that the E1c seems to be running Elio’s own engine, instead of a junkyard Geo Metro mill. That may not seem like a big deal, but delivering a running, driving vehicle powered by your own, original engine design is a feat that long eluded bigger, more famous names like Lotus and AMG.

Finally, they painted the car black. At the LA Auto Show. Elio isn’t be breaking any new technological ground with the Elio Motors E1c, but painting a make-or-break prototype at one of the world’s biggest car shows black takes serious balls. If they were nervous about the quality of their body panels’ reflection lines, they might have gone for a matte white or bright orange finish. But, no. Black. Black to show every wave and every wiggle.

A brave move.

Now, don’t get me wrong- I don’t think Elio is ever, ever, ever going to meet his goal of selling 250,000 of these three-wheeled things in a single, 12-month period. Ever. In the interest of objectivity, though, the E1c’s debut in LA is going in Paul’s win column.

Check out the Elio Motors E1c official press release and teaser/launch video, below, then let us know what you think of this latest plot development in Paul Elio’s story in the comments section at the bottom of the page. Enjoy!

 

Elio Motors E1c | Official Word


LOS ANGELES, Nov. 17, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Elio Motors (OTCQX: ELIO), the start-up vehicle manufacturer planning to launch a three-wheel vehicle that will get up to 84 mpg with a set $7,300* base price, today introduced its E1c engineering vehicle at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

The E1c engineering vehicle is a significant step forward as Elio Motors progresses from the prototype to production phase. While the exterior is similar to previous Elio prototypes, the E1c engineering vehicle features foundational and structural improvements to the frame, suspension, and safety systems that will ultimately create a more satisfying driving experience.

The E1c is part of Elio Motors’ E-Series vehicles, which are being built for testing and validation purposes. More than 80 percent of the E1c was assembled using soft tooling — short-term, low-cost production tools — to prove manufacturability and repeatability of individual parts prior to full production.

“The E1c represents our continued progress along our long-term plan to bring low-cost, highly fuel efficient transportation to the market,” said Elio Motors’ founder and CEO Paul Elio. “We have assembled an amazing team of engineers and supplier partners who have jumped into every aspect of this vehicle to make sure it meets or exceeds all of our targets. Their passion for creating a game-changing vehicle is one of our company’s greatest strengths.”

While the company has made hundreds of refinements during the vehicle engineering phase, some of the more impactful changes include the frame, suspension and safety systems with improved comfort and functionality.

The E1c features a unibody frame, which allows for better absorption of energy and greater safety tuning of the vehicle. The unibody frame was developed specifically for Elio Motors by the Elio Motors engineering team, Schwab Industries and Roush Engineering. In addition to the safety benefits, the unibody frame also will improve the production vehicle’s fit and finish and will manufacturability.

The modified suspension will sharpen handling and improve aerodynamics, improve long-term vehicle durability and reduce noise, vibration and harshness (NVH).

The E1c is the first Elio Motors vehicle to feature airbags, a key component in Elio Motors’ Safety Management System, with two roof-rail side-curtain airbags and a driver airbag in the steering wheel.

“The soft tooling phase is crucial to our long-term success, as we progress from hand-built prototypes to more refined vehicles built with production tooling,” said Jeff Johnston, Elio Motors’ Vice President of Engineering. “The E1c features 80% production level components and systems and represents a monumental leap forward.”

 

Source | Images: Elio Motors; Roberto Baldwin, for AOL and Engadget.





About the Author

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.
  • fred smith the deplorable

    True, this is the best-built Elio so far. The E1A (abs testing unit) had their updated second engine. The E1A (black show car) has their first test engine that they pulled out of the P5. The P5 was at the show, but kept its hood shut to not show the empty engine bay. All the pics show it without driveshafts/halfshafts.

    Perhaps you should once more look into Elio finances. The latest SEC filing shows them to be broke, behind on their payments, and $100M in debt. Stu Lichter is still floating them loans to keep the doors open, and they are losing money hand over fist (about $3-4M per month).

    You are correct about this being a ballsy move. And without a prompt, large influx of cash, it may be their last. They’ve already cancelled their December Texas show appearance.

    This is just another example of too little, too late.

    • Steve Hanley

      It’s a shame, really. Paul Elio is not exactly like Elon Musk but he is not exactly unlike Musk either — a man with a vision who took steps to make his dream a reality.

      Lots of people laugh at dreamers but they are the ones who initiate seismic shifts in the marketplace. Toyota and Honda were laughed at and called “Jap Crap.” I once had an experienced mechanic refuse to work on my 1973 Civic because he swore it didn’t even have a real ignition system. Thought it ran on demons and ghosts or something like that.

      Yugo and Daewoo imploded in America. There is no surefire way to predict winners and loses in advance.

      As surprising as it may seem, plenty of Americans still care about fuel economy when making a buying decision. It may be counterintuitive, but in the latest customer satisfaction survey, owners of SUVs and pickup trucks said they love their vehicles but wish they got better gas mileage.

      What, you didn’t know that Escalade was going to suck gas when you bought it?

      So Elio’s basic premise is sound. Still, it looks like he is well on the way to being just another footnote in the history of American car companies.

      • The premise of an economical, 1+1 vehicle is sound, yes. As a trike? Man- the people buying these probably haven’t ever ridden/driven a trike in downtown [insert major city name here]. I can’t imaging them being “believers” if they had.

        • RIMSPOKE

          I HAVE DRIVEN & ENJOYED A HALF DOZEN AUTOCYCLE
          TRIKES OVER THE YEARS , I STILL HAVE FOUR OF THEM .
          I AM IN LINE FOR TWO ELIOS SO FROM MY POINT OF VIEW , YOU NEED A BETTER IMAGINATION .

          • causality

            RIP your investment. Elio doesn’t stand a chance of actually putting out vehicles. It’s the Dale car scam all over again.
            3 wheel car – check
            impossible mpg claims – check
            $$$$$ on marketing w/o a product – check

            Wake up and smell the coffee.

          • RIMSPOKE

            IMPOSSIBLE MPG CLAIMS ?

            I HAVE FREEWAYS & MESSERSCHMITTS THAT
            CAN DO 85+mpg WITH 50 YEAR OLD TECHNOLOGY .

            PERHAPS YOU SHOULD “CHECK” YOUR BIAS .

          • causality

            Oh, you mean vehicles that weigh 1/2 to 1/3 of the elio? …right… I don’t blame you for getting caught up in the scam, I almost bought into an elio myself. Just remember, there will be zero recourse legally when they fold because they can prove they made an effort to produce it.

          • RIMSPOKE

            THE KR DID IT ON A WASTEFUL1950’s TWO STROKE
            ENGINE .
            THE FREEWAY DID IT WITH AN ANCHORWEIGHT CAST IRON TECUMSEH TILLER ENGINE .

            BOTH WERE CARBURETED WITH POINT IGNITION
            AND NO TIMING ADVANCE !

            ENGINE TECHNOLOGY HAS ADVANCED LIGHT YEARS
            SINCE THEN . SORRY YOU DIDN’T GET THE MEMO

          • causality

            A 2t which makes nearly double the power as a 4t of the same displacement. lol you really are clueless about this, not hard to see how you got swindled. a fool and his money…

          • RIMSPOKE

            THE TROUBLE WITH THE TWO STROKE IS THAT
            YOU HAVE BOTH THE EXHAUST PORT AND TRANSFER PORTS OPEN AT THE SAME TIME .

            WHEN THE EXHAUST LEAVES , IT TAKES SOME OF THE INTAKE CHARGE WITH IT THAT RE-EXPLODES IN THE
            EXHAUST SYSTEM GIVING IT THE CHARACTERISTIC RINGING SOUND .

            THE ENGINE DESIGNERS TRY TO MINIMIZE THE LOSS BY PLACING THE TRANSFER PORTS ACOSS FROM EACH OTHER AND 90 DEGREES FROM THE EXHAUST OPENING .

            IT HELPS BUT THERE IS STILL A MESAUREABLE PERCENTAGE OF FUEL LOST WITH EVERY CYCLE .

            IT IS A FASCINATING & SIMPLE CONCEPT AND YES , I AM WELL AWARE OF THE TORQUE ADVANTAGES .

          • mrkb2366 .

            I am sorry to bust your bubble. This whole idea is a modern day Tucker. Selling repair shops and pickup locations with no ready to go product. I am glad I listened to my own sense and never put a dime into this

          • RIMSPOKE

            NO BUBBLE HERE TO BUST 23 .

            THE OLD SAYING IS DON’T INVEST MORE MONEY THAN YOU CAN AFFORD TO LOSE . I DID NOT .

            I WANTED TO SEE THIS HAPPEN SO I DID MY PART .
            IF NO ONE DOES THEIR PART THEN ABSOLUTELY NOTHING IS POSSIBLE .

            IF I NEVER GET AN ELIO , AT LEAST I CAN’T BLAME ME FOR NOT TRYING . I WILL KEEP DRIVING & ENJOYING THE 3 WHEEL CARS ( & TRUCK ) I ALREADY HAVE .

            BY THE WAY , ELIO IS NOW LESS THAN 1000
            RESERVATIONS AWAY FROM THE 65,000 GOAL .

          • mrkb2366 .

            Hey Friend, I would Love to see this make it to the market. I would definitely buy one of them. The problem as I understand is, lack of money. Also getting the states to allow you to drive this without a helmet. I am not putting the man down. I just don’t see it happening. What would really be great. The Federal Government could lend a hand and some cash. They bailed out two of the big 3. Actually if this little 3 wheeler does what is implied. The Government should be standing in line with capitol.

          • RIMSPOKE

            OK THEN . YOU SHOULD THANK ME FOR PUTTING MY MONEY WHERE MY MOUTH IS .

            THE CURRENT ADMINISTRATION HAS HAD A BIG PUSH FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY AND STEERED AVAILABLE FUNDING IN THAT DIRECTION . .

            PART OF THE PROBLEM HERE IS THERE HAVE BEEN TOO MANY SOLYNDRA LIKE MISTAKES AND UNCLE SAM HAS TIGHTENED THE REQUIREMENTS FOR AVAILABLE MONEY .

            ANOTHER PART IS THAT THE ELIO USES GOOD OLD FASHIONED GASOLINE RATHER THAN SOLAR , ELECTRIC OR ION PULSE POWER .

            THEY HAVE SO MANY OF THE ELEMENTS IN PLACE .
            A MOSTLY FINALIZED DESIGN
            PARTS SUPPLIERS LINED UP
            A PLACE TO BUILD THEM .

            THEY HAVE APPLIED FOR THE
            ONE THING THEY HAVE BEEN WAITING ON IS TO SEE IF ELIO CAN MUSTER 65’000 CASH RESERVATIONS .

            I SEE TWO THINGS HERE .
            THEY ARE KNOCKING ON THE DOOR FOR THE 65,000 WHICH IS THE HAST HOOP TO JUMP THROUGH .

            WE WILL HAVE A NEW ADMINISTRATION THAT WILL LIKELY CONSIDER THE ELIO ON IT’s EFFICIENCY MERITS WITHOUT PENALIZING IT FOR IT’S FUEL SOURCE .

            SO I AM HOPEFUL . I DIDN’T GET INTO THIS WITHOUT BEING AWARE THAT I COULD LOSE MY MONEY , IT WAS A RISK IN MY EYES WORTH TAKING .

            IF IT PANS OUT , I WILL BE GETTING TWO NEW ELIOS FOR 16% LESS THAN YOU CAN BUY THEM FOR .

            ONE OF THEM WILL BE RESOLD WHILE THERE IS A
            WAITING LIST FOR PEOPLE WANTING BUY THEM .

            IF IT DOESN’T WORK OUT , I HAVE NO REGRETS .

      • If you think Musk’s dream to was to milk flyover state voters for a million+ dollar take-home in salary, loans, and travel credit, then yeah …

      • A dream alone seldom succeeds. Devotees of “The Power of Positive Thinking” back in the day (and maybe still?) learned painfully that good intentions alone can be worse than ineffective.

        Musk brought significant skill and resources to developing Tesla. He invested heavily in engineering and design before asking the public to buy his product. He planned on a realistic and sustainable scale.

        Still, Musk could fail. Business is heartless and cash flow is its life-blood. Elio has no cash flow. Engineering seems to be only now under way. Their is no path to success for Elio unless magic happens but, as we know, magical thinking does not work.

        • RIMSPOKE

          MUSK DIDN’T START TESLA .
          HE BOUGHT IT OUT AFTER THEY HAD ALREADY DEVELOPED THEIR FIRST CAR .

          • Frank

            Elon joined Tesla in 2004. What car did they have then?

          • RIMSPOKE

            THE ROADSTER WAS UNDER DEVELOPMENT .
            MY ONLY POINT IS THAT HE DIDN’T START THE COMPANY . CLEARLY HE IS THE ONE THAT TOOK
            THEM TO WHERE THE ARE TODAY .

          • which supports my case, I think. Musk’s vision is of an a technologically advancing Mankind living in greater harmony with nature as he spreads to the Stars.

            I paraphrase liberally, but that’s about it. He never said he could do it alone. He hired the best engineers and contractors, bought the best companies. He’s an Entrepreneur, not an Inventor. you don’t think he claims to have invented solar panels or batteries, do you?

            This is the difference between people who TALK and people who DO. nevertheless, I would be THRILLED to hear your all-cap TALK about what you think Musk DOES. Of course you do have the alternative of betting off your hinder and trying to do something yourself.

            Can’t help but notice every one of your posts is an all-cap screed that is politically motivated. Have you ever considered that kind of attitude might be why you have no real friends and no real prospect of a traditional career in the middle class? Angry shouting people like you often die too young. It’s unfortunate. Blood pressure and triglycerides wear your circulatory system and kidneys down over time.

            Don’t think it is anger i feel, but rather pity. You know, like you might fee for a poor animal in the road, mortally hit by a car. you’ve seen this sight. A small dog or squirrel, back half squished, front half still hoping to drag itself free. that’s what I see when i see you. The humane thing for a squirrel would be to call the local animal control. People like you we just let them lie there and suffer, howling out in pain. perhaps if you tried Midol®?

          • RIMSPOKE

            GEE ALBERTO , I HATE THAT YOU WASTED
            THAT MUCH BANDWIDTH .

            I JUST TYPE IN CAPS . I HAVE MY WHOLE LIFE .
            IT ISN’T ANGER , POLITICAL OR SHOUTING .
            I WRITE MY GROCERY LIST IN CAPS TOO .

            NO BID DEAL UNLESS YOU WANT TO MAKE SOMETHING OF IT THAT IT IS NOT . HAVE YOU TRIED MIDOL®?

          • Adolph

            Rimspoke:
            Listen to Alberto. He has you down pat. Nawww…..you probably won’t. You are a fool.

          • RIMSPOKE

            IT IS ACTUALLY A SOCIAL EXPERIMENT THAT SERVES AS A GAUGE OF PEOPLE’s ACCEPTANCE OF OTHERS
            AND WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY .

            BY GIVING PEOPLE SOMETHING TO COMPLAIN ABOUT , I PROVIDE THEM WITH AN INTERESTING CHOICE .

            THIS IS LIKE DISTRACTING THEM WITH A SHINY OBJECT TO SEE IF THEY ARE PAYING ATTENTION .

            IF THE DISTRACTION BECOMES MORE IMPORTANT
            TO THEM THAN WHATEVER IT IS THEY WANTED TO SAY , THEN IT WASN’T REALLY THAT IMPORTANT .

            IT IS ALSO A QUESTION OF ACCEPTANCE OF OTHERS & INSISTING EVERYONE DOES THINGS THEIR WAY .

            MOST PEOPLE LIKE TO CARRY ON A NORMAL CONVERSATION WHICH I AM ALWAYS HAPPY TO HAVE . I LIKE TO SHARE IDEAS .

            IF I CAN GET THEM TO BRUSH THEMSELVES OFF , THAT EASILY , THEN THEY NEVER WANTED TO
            SHARE OR HAVE A TWO WAY DISCOURSE IN THE FIRST PLACE .

            AS FOR WHAT I THINK OF MUSK , I THINK HE IS A GREAT VISIONARY OF OUR TIME . HE THINKS BIG .
            I AM IN NEGOTIATIONS WITH TESLA FOR A TOOL & DIE JOB IN THE GRAND RAPIDS FACILITY .
            ( THEY CALLED ME )

            ALBERTO DIDN’T HAVE TO GO OFF ON AN
            ABSURD ASSUMPTION BASED RANT &
            YOU DON’T HAVE TO CALL PEOPLE A FOOL .

    • Oh, I hear you. They’re $100m in debt, but haven’t built anything. Meanwhile, Paul continues to draw a six-figure salary, live and travel on expense accounts, and take out “loans” to pay off his house from a company that may not exist long enough for him to even start paying him back. In the end, all the Tucker truthers/hysterics will call him a visionary and he’ll land a marketing gig somewhere like GM or Chrysler. Lots of people’s money will vanish, and he’ll come out ahead. Meanwhile, the few remaining Elio supporters and believers will claim it was my fault that he went under, without realizing they’re the only people who read this stuff, anyway. LOL!!

      • Rick Danger

        Everybody knows it will be your fault, Jo. When Brad and Angelina broke up, that was your fault too 🙂

        • That’s true, tho. Brad wants me …

    • kevin mccune

      Maybe they need a government grant like the big 2.5 .The car seems promising .even if He doesn’t produce a single car ,its been a ride .

      • I’m still shocked that people think the car is promising. Did they ever drive a Geo Metro, I wonder? That car will be much more comfortable than this will.

  • It is criminal to continue soliciting deposits for this vehicle. Why must the FTC wait for the inevitable collapse to take action? Their delay only adds to the number of citizens who will suffer financial losses in this debacle.

    • The people giving him money are his biggest defenders. The conned usually are.

  • HA!! That’s so bad …

  • Dale LeBarron

    They even have a windshield made of real glass in this one.
    Great article. You gave EM an even more positive review than I did.
    Nothing but net here man. Thanks Jo.

  • I’m not sure the Sondors people will be much luckier in terms of car-building- but it will, at least, be electric!

    • kevin mccune

      Just got done pumping almost $40 gas into my Dodge , yes Jo , to someone like me it has promise ,compared to what I used to drive , its fine ,I never owned a vehicle with AC ,till I was over forty . And a quiet economical new vehicle ,would sort of fill the bill for me .

  • BozoerRebbe

    “That may not seem like a big deal, but delivering a running, driving vehicle powered by your own, original engine design is a feat that long eluded bigger, more famous names like Lotus and AMG.”

    Jo, this is factually wrong. Lotus built thousands of cars powered by their own original engine designs. You’ve written about the Lotus 918 V8 that was in the Esprit yourself. Before that, the 2.2 liter four cylinder 900 series engine was also an in-house Lotus design. The Lotus Twin Cam used in the Elan and Europa used a Ford block but had a head designed by Harry Mundy, and developed by the then new Cosworth company, specifically for Lotus.

    For the matter, people might be surprised how many large auto companies don’t really do their “own original” engine designs. Roush, IAV, AVL, Mahle, Cosworth and McLaren (the engineering shop in Livonia started by Bruce McLaren to support his CanAm effort, unrelated to McLaren Technologies, which builds McLaren cars) do a lot of the actual engineering work on engines that bear car companies’ names.

  • Intelligent Doc

    My brother is involved, at a VERY HIGH LEVEL with Elio…. while it is NOT, and never was any kind of a scam, they’ve undergone some serious problems-they’ve hit every possible obstacle…. In fact, at a recent family holiday dinner, my brother said “The sheer number of unforeseen predicaments weren’t just a result of bad luck…….this poor schmuck was born under the astrological sign ‘SNAFU’.
    Either way, I do hope these vehicles come to fruition…. This isn’t even about shutting up the naysayers….this vehicle is something that should be 30 year old technology by now……
    Unfortunately, now that this ignorant, arrogant LOW IQ bag of shit is actually being given the keys to the Whitehouse, it’ll be a matter of hours before this imbecilic, sociopathic, narcissistic cheat destroys every goddamn thing ever done by every previous administration…..in the way of environmental protection.

    So, yeah, we’ve need this more than ever.

  • Chris Stancil

    Maybe if Elio would take their vehicle to a smaller country where it will not have to compete on the road against Escalades and F350’s. SE Asia perhaps, most vehicles on the road there would not be much larger than the Elio.

  • mrkb2366 .

    This is an interesting concept. I think it will fail. I see this as a prime repeat of the Tucker. We all know what happened with that company. I would not dream of putting a dime of my hard earned cash into this scheme. Throw in an axle, add a fourth wheel, and you have a car. As it sits you have a motorcycle with a body and steering wheel.

  • RIMSPOKE

    SERIOUSLY ?
    YOU CREATED A NEW I D JUST TO TEASE PEOPLE ?

    YOUR LIFE MUST BE PRETTY EMPTY .