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.


Jo Borrás

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.