[ExI] The car of the Future?

BillK pharos at gmail.com
Thu Jul 31 14:24:39 UTC 2014

The Elio may look strange. But take a good look and get used to it,
because if 25,000 reservations are any indication, the oddball vehicle
is going to be a fixture on the highway after its expected release in
late 2015.



The ultra-cheap, $6,800 vehicle is technically a motorcycle; it has
three wheels and the driver and passenger both sit center-aligned. But
it probably has more in common with a very fuel-efficient car (at 84
mpg, it's supposed to get you from New York to Detroit on one tank).
It's fully enclosed, and has regular car seats, seat belts, airbags,
air conditioning, and options for a manual or automatic transmission.
Its max speed is 100 mph.

If people can get used to the vehicle's different look and feel, it
could have a broad market. "Elio would have had no shot 15 years ago,"
says Paul Elio. "Now, we've become more open to what transportation
looks like." Many potential customers wouldn't want a two-seater as
their only car, but he expects people would consider it as a second
vehicle for commuting, since most commuters drive to work alone.
(Using it only for a roundtrip 80-mile daily commute, you'd make the
sticker price back in 4 to 5 years at today's gas prices, according to
our calculations).

It hasn't all been smooth sailing for the Elio so far. While engineers
designed the vehicle hoping for a 5-star crash rating, so far, the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has refused to say
whether it's willing to perform the tests on the unconventional
vehicle (the company has been meeting with officials). The company has
had to a hire a lobbyist to pass laws in the many states where its
legal status as a motorcycle would require owners to wear a helmet or
have a motorcycle license. So far, says Elio, the company has changed
laws in about 12 states, and has been successful in all but one state
where it's tried. (Arizona's governor vetoed a bill, because of a
rider involving the legalization of beer bikes).

As the article notes. 3 wheels leads to complications.
Is it a motorcycle? Do occupants need to wear helmets? Motorcycle
insurance is cheaper than car insurance, so???? If it is a motorcycle,
can it use the car-pool lanes?

Will Spike get excited???  :)


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