The humble tricycle doesn’t exactly get a lot of respect as a mode of transportation. You’re more likely to see it as a goofy training exercise than an actual method of getting around. The Elio, though, wants to change that with a vehicle that can get from Detroit to New York on one tank of gas.
Three Wheels, No Problems
The Elio, simply put, is a car designed to be cheap, simple, and a commuter vehicle. It’s got two seats, with one behind the other, and three wheels with two on either side of the driver and one in the back for stability. It’s actually, thanks to the law, an odd mix of motorcycle and car; for example, some states will expect you to wear a helmet even though the cabin is enclosed, and the headlights will be brighter than your sedan.
Low Cost Travel
The main reason the Elio might just take off is the fact that it’s surprisingly cheap. It’s light and uses fewer materials than even subcompact cars, bringing it in at a sticker price of just $6800. And as it gets 84 miles to the gallon, it’s also going to save you some cash on the gas end of things. In fact, the price is so low that the manufacturer has a plan in place where you just buy it with a gas card and make your monthly payments off of that. The company claims that if you trade-in a car that gets 27 miles or less to the gallon, you’re saving money.
Of course, there are a few drawbacks. The small passenger cabin means you’re not hauling a lot of people around, and it also means that this isn’t designed for long hauls. It’s a commuter vehicle. But when it gets 600 miles out of a tank of gas… it’s pretty hard to object. It’ll be available later this year.
Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.