[ExI] RES: The car of the Future?

spike spike66 at att.net
Thu Jul 31 19:20:58 UTC 2014

>... On Behalf Of BillK
Subject: Re: [ExI] RES: The car of the Future?

On Thu, Jul 31, 2014 at 6:22 PM, Henrique Moraes Machado  wrote:
>>... Holy cow. This is fugly. And I really like the concept of three 
> wheelers and think the two wheels in the front, one in the back 
> arrangement is the best (stability, leg room). ...

>...It's American! Don't expect Italian styling.  :)  (Not at first

Ja styling is another matter, but one style costs about the same as any
other, if you are using molded polycarbonate.

The deal-breaker is still that helmet.  On the Co. Exist site, note the
second comment:

Dan Kassis:  The idea of owning an Elio was very appealing to me, until I
learned my state is one that would require the helmet. There's no way I'd
drive one if that was a requirement. As far as I know the law still stands.
I bought a two year-old compact car that gets up to 40 mpg instead.

It really is all about helmets.  Florida is still a possibility, because it
has a big car-enthusiast market and it doesn't require helmets for
motorcycles.  Helmets are hot, they interfere with vision and hearing, they
are heavy.  You just wouldn't want to wear one every day.  The version of
Elio I have in mind has no air conditioner, so on a sunny day it will have
greenhouse effect, even when the car is rolling.  It doesn't get as hot as a
parked car with the windows up, because the breeze carries away some of the
heat, but I can easily envision it staying 10 degrees warmer in there than
the ambient air.  On a motorcycle, the heat is carried away by convection.
The fully-enclosed Elio just isn't compatible with helmets.

>...The problem Elio has is deciding what his market is. Americans are not
known for volume buying of slow bare-bones cars, even if they are
economical... BillK

Ja I think there is something very basic wrong with his cost model.  At that
6800 price point, the cost to distribute, transport from Louisiana,
transportation insurance, capital costs, state and local tax structures,
perhaps most important, manufacturers liability would combine to go over
6800, never mind cost of manufacturing.  The biggest of those is likely to
be manufacturers liability insurance.

Motorcycle manufacturers get out of a lot of that.  Consider the current
case where GM is the defendant in a class-action lawsuit for faulty ignition
switches.  That will likely cost GM jillions of dollars.  Compare to
motorcycle manufacturers.  We know that a particular bike model had a design
flaw which caused unexpected rear-wheel lockup.  The company wasn't sued.
Motorcycle riders accept the risk.  From a legal standpoint: you knew the
risks when you threw a leg over the infernal contraption; if you didn't you
are stupid.  You buy your own risk, even if there are errors in design which
increase risk.

I keep coming back to this: the scheme depends on having governments
classify this as a motorcycle but treat it as a special case motorcycle
where you don't need a motorcycle endorsement on your driver's license,
liability insurance is optional, you can use the carpool lanes and you don't
need helmets.

This idea depends on legal questions rather than a technical.


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