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Are You Ready for 84 MPG? Meet the Elio [VIDEO]

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On: Mon, May 20, 2013 at 11:20AM | By: Bill Wilson

Are You Ready for 84 MPG?  Meet the Elio [VIDEO]

Automakers have been busy as bees over the last decade designing lightweight, fuel-efficient vehicles for a public increasingly suffering from price shock at the gas pumps. As a result, dozens of car models and even some light trucks now average 25+ miles per gallon on the highway. Hybrids like the Prius are even more fuel-stingy, getting 50 MPG or more.

But even Toyota's ultra-efficient savings champ is outdone by a new vehicle called the Elio, which can go 84 miles on a single gallon of regular unleaded. Scheduled to be released in 2014, the Elio is causing waves across the automotive world.

By now you're probably asking, "what's the catch?" Here it is: the Elio isn't a "car" in the usual sense of the word. It's defined by US government as a motorcycle, due to its three-wheeled configuration. Despite that, the Elio is considerably more comfortable than the average motorbike. The driver is fully contained in a metal body very similar to that of a conventional auto, with a roll cage, three air bags, and anti-lock brakes. The Elio also has full climate control, a stereo sound system, and a seat big enough to accommodate drivers up to 6'8" comfortably. There's even a back seat big enough for a passenger or a few bags of groceries.

The Elio is the brainchild of Paul Elio, engineer by trade and CEO of Elio Motors, the company behind the project. Elio has acquired a former GM plant in Shreveport, Louisiana for his venture and has plans to hire well over 1,000 local residents by mid-2015. The local area, which was hit hard by the 2008 economic collapse, is enthusiastic about the new company. So are its investors, who have put up over $100 million of their own money to see Elio's vision become a reality.

For drivers, of course, there are a host of concerns about whether the Elio, with a price tag of $6,800, will be worth buying. Especially important for most is the safety factor; images of the tiny auto being squashed by an 18-wheeler come to mind. For their part, Elio points to factors like the vehicle's air bags, low center of gravity, and anticipated five-star safety rating. But even those facts don’t undo the little machine's other shortcomings, like cramped quarters and lack of practical necessities like a trunk. Will its low price and promises of 84 MPG be enough to persuade consumers to buy it anyway? Time will tell.

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Rexangelion | 8:37PM (Wed, Sep 3, 2014)

Move over Volkswagen Bug, the Hot, Super Cute Babes are coming for the 'Elio.' Isn't He Cute? But they better hurry 'cause the Law of Supply/Demand is going to drive the price up almost overnight, I betcha! $6800 today, $17,600 tomorrow! I luv the Free Market, but it ain't always 'For Free!'

Jeeze, beam me up to Paradise Scotty where everything will always be Free Forever, to one's Heart's Desires, without limit!

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