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Meet your second car: How the small, slender, US$6800 Elio seeks a bigger audience

Melissa Riofrio | July 23, 2014
Built to accommodate a single person and a non-claustrophobic friend, along with a few belongings, it's simply too small on its own to do more than run a few modest errands.

That's part of the price of green, but here's the bonus: The car gets 84 mpg on the highway. With an 8-gallon tank, that gives you a range of 672 miles. Pollution is low, too: According to Elio, you'd have to drive the car 20,000 miles per year to produce the same amount of greenhouse gases as the typical cow.

The engine, of course, has yet to be produced, but here's a prototype that was shown next to the car.

To know me is to customize me

Part of Elio's charm may end up being the customization possibilities. "We're going to make the car, but we're encouraging third parties to make options for it," Vassallo said. None of those options are available yet, but Vassallo listed examples such as bicycle or wheelchair racks, all of which could fit along the doorless right side. I'm sure these items would wreak havoc with the carefully designed aerodynamics, as all racks do, but the point is to expand the car beyond simple people-carrying (which is basically all it can do on its own) and tailor it to your specific needs.

Elio has some busy months ahead. The engine could be in production by the end of the year, and the car itself is due to ship in September of 2015.

And that coveted 30-something buyer? Not surprisingly, the Friday-morning crowd skewed older and retired. Most likely the weekend brought in younger adults. But with many of them toting children, friends, or even shopping bags that couldn't fit into this car, the Elio still has some convincing to do.

 

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