TROY, Mich., Jan. 14, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- For entrepreneur Paul Elio, founder and CEO of Elio Motors, there are no shortcuts on the way to developing a $6,800 commuter vehicle that will get up to 84 MPG. Even if it means becoming the first start-up vehicle company to build an engine from the ground up in more than 60 years.
On Feb. 6, 2015, Elio Motors will debut the new 0.9 liter, 3-cylinder engine prototype with an official "first start" at a private event for investors, suppliers and media. The event will be held at the Plymouth, Mich., offices of IAV, a world-class engine developer which has worked with such global icons as Mercedes and BMW.
Elio Motors believes it is the first start-up vehicle manufacturer to develop its own internal combustion engine since Nash Motors in 1951.
"When you are on a monumental journey such as the launch of a new transportation company, sometimes you have to blaze your own trail," Elio said. "We looked at existing engines and couldn't find anything that met our needs. We challenged IAV to develop something from the ground up and they delivered. We believe this engine is the heart and soul of this vehicle."
In order to provide its customers with high fuel efficiency and still provide the performance consistent with today's passenger vehicles, the Elio Motors engine must operate efficiently at two different loads – lower loads representative of highway cruising, and more demanding loads associated with the fast starts of city driving.
The IAV team started with a three cylinder architecture and developed several Elio-specific components, including the cylinder block, cylinder heads, CAM cover, front cover, oil pan, crankshaft, camshaft, valvetrain, pistons, connecting rods, bearings and water pump. This allowed the engine development team the flexibility to keep the design simple, efficient and easy to manufacture while enabling all of the major fuel economy related attributes – combustion system, friction and pumping energy – to be enhanced.
"Ultimately, the decision to build an engine that was completely ours will pay off by meeting and exceeding our customers' expectations for fuel efficiency and performance," Elio said. "In addition to a vehicle that is fuel efficient and has a unique look, our customers will find it fun to drive as well."
In addition to providing ultra-high fuel efficiency, the vehicle will go from 0-60 in 9.6 seconds and will have a top speed of more than 100 miles per hour. Elio and its manufacturing partner Comau will build the vehicle at a world-class manufacturing facility in Shreveport where General Motors previously built the Hummer H3 and Chevy Colorado.
Currently on a nationwide tour, the vehicle prototype has developed an enthusiastic grass-roots following and nearly 40,000 people have made reservations for a spot in line to buy one when they go to production. The Elio was recently named by CNET.com readers (http://bit.ly/1C7pFYQ) as the item they would most like to take home from the Consumer Electronics Show, beating out new products from tech giants such as Samsung and HP. When the Elio goes to market, it will create 1,500 jobs at the company. In addition, the Elio will use 90 percent North American content, creating another 1,500 jobs at its supplier partner companies. These manufacturing jobs will in turn create approximately 18,000 indirect jobs across the country.
Elio Motors sees multiple markets for its vehicle, including consumers who still need the occasional functionality of a pick-up truck, sport utility vehicle or minivan, but are looking for an affordable, fuel efficient vehicle for their solo driving. The company sees the Elio as an "and" vehicle – purchase a larger vehicle for those times when you need the functionality, but use the Elio for solo commuter trips. For example, 76.3 percent of all commuters drive solo to work every morning according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
About Elio Motors
Founded by car enthusiast Paul Elio in 2008, Elio Motors Inc. represents a revolutionary approach to manufacturing an ultra-high-mileage vehicle. The three-wheeled Elio is engineered to attain a highway mileage rating of up to 84 mpg while providing the comfort of amenities such as power windows, power door lock and air conditioning, accompanied by the safety of multiple air bags and an aerodynamic, enclosed vehicle body. Elio's first manufacturing site will be in Shreveport, La. For more information, visit www.eliomotors.com or www.facebook.com/ElioMotors.
About IAV in North America
IAV Group is an engineering and technical consultancy servicing the global automotive industry with over 5,000 employees worldwide. As a recognized leader in the specification, design, development, validation and production launch of advanced vehicle and powertrain systems, IAV Automotive Engineering deploys a leading team of technical experts, engineering tools and program processes from its North American Headquarters in Northville, Michigan.
SOURCE Elio Motors