“I still think you’re nuts,” I told Paul Elio, in an informal phone call after his official “town hall” meeting, last month. “You’re definitely growing on me, though. ‘Nuts’ is endearing.”
Elio chuckled, politely. We were talking about Elio’s fan base, the market that he thought the major auto makers were ignoring, and about why someone would choose to spend their $6800 (or $7300, as it stands, today) on his vehicle when there were so many bigger, more practical used cars out there for the same money.
“It depends what you consider ‘practical’,” he replied. “If you’re driving alone 99% of the time, then the & (one of the names being considered for the vehicle, which is set to begin production in the fall of next year) makes sense 99% of the time.”
“Here’s the problem,” I said, smugly. “Even if you’re totally right, imagine I’m driving my Elio and my kids’ school calls to tell me my daughter’s sick and I have to come pick her up. My wife can’t get out of work, and she has the big car. I can’t pick her up in one of these (Elio trikes), and that, right there, is why spending my money on a used hatchback or something is the right move.”
There was a pause on the phone for a second or two, like Paul was reasoning things out. I had him, or so I thought.
“Why can’t you pick her up from school?” he asked, confused.
“I can’t put a child seat in the Elio,” I said. Similarly confused. “Can I?” I asked, somewhat sheepishly.
Elio pondered the question, again. “We put the (LATCH) in the back seat. We designed it in, I know that,” he said. “I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen anyone physically put a child seat in it, though.”
We decided that it would be a great addition to the “practical second car” narrative that Elio Motors is trying to roll out with the trike, and Paul told me he’d give it a try once things settled down from the Woodward Dream Cruise (where the Elio crew was collecting reservations – more than 500, by the time this phone call took place). A few days passed, and I thought Paul might have forgotten about the idea. Or, hilariously, that a child seat didn’t fit in the thing. Then, a few days ago, my phone buzzed, and I saw the following image:
Paul Elio’s Trike + Child Seat
Original content, with special thanks to Paul Elio.