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Elio Motors cars, urban transportation
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Clinically Insane
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Jul 7, 2013, 12:47 AM
 
Car enthusiasts, what is your take on these cars?

Ultra High Mileage Car : Elio Motors

I like interesting cars, I hope that these sort of cars become realities and start to catch on. I grow tired of people justifying buying SUVs because they want to take family trips or haul something when they may only do this once a twice a year, at that. It seems like there is no car that is going to be everything for everybody, but in cities at least I hope to see the zip car thing really catch on so that renting cars for these special/unusual occasions becomes completely common place. It seems like for many people, these sub $7000 cars would be perfect for urban commuting which is the bulk of what many people do.

I'm starting to hear about taxi services running their businesses differently, I hope that the car business and how we access/own/rent cars changes too, I really tire of the same old cars being made the same old way.
     
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Jul 7, 2013, 01:05 AM
 
Looks interesting, I have not heard about it before.

I'm surprised they can build this in the US for $6,800. I wonder what economics are behind this price.

In the automotive industry, everything is about scale. If you buy / build a lot, you get great prices.
I could see the $6,800 possible once there are hundreds of thousands sold, but in the beginning, I don;'t see it. The development cost, tools and launch cost in automotive are massive. They either have some really deep pockets, or the initial price will be higher.

At any rate, seems like a great idea.

-t
     
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Jul 7, 2013, 02:58 PM
 
Thank you Turtle, but do you see these cars selling in America?
     
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Jul 7, 2013, 03:08 PM
 
Off-the-cuff, I'd say it's more a three-wheeled motorcycle with a cocoon than a car.
     
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Jul 7, 2013, 03:09 PM
 
I hope it catches on. I wonder how easy they tip though, with only 1 wheel in back. The only thing that would stop me from buying one is the fear of all the large vehicles on the road declaring war on small cars. Seems like suv/truck drivers are used to just letting everyone else look out for them. We need to improve our highways in a way to keep larger vehicles to the right and smaller ones to the left rather than the right exit, left exit, carpool exit, lane-dropping, forced traffic-weaving, free for all that it currently is.

I'd like a culture more about renting trucks as I need them.
     
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Jul 7, 2013, 03:12 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Off-the-cuff, I'd say it's more a three-wheeled motorcycle with a cocoon than a car.
Yeah, I believe in some states they are actually being classified as motorcycles.
     
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Jul 7, 2013, 03:14 PM
 
How do we get to a place where we can rent the vehicles we need, when we need them, and people are on board with doing that rather than buying a vehicle they may need for a handful of hours in a year?
     
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Jul 7, 2013, 03:22 PM
 
Make the cars self-driving.

Also, use drones to make deliveries. I wanna taco, fly that ****er over.
     
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Jul 7, 2013, 03:29 PM
 
Originally Posted by el chupacabra View Post
I wonder how easy they tip though, with only 1 wheel in back.
At least a little better than a non-reverse trike.

As you imply, I wouldn't want to be in a collision in one.
     
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Jul 7, 2013, 03:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
At least a little better than a non-reverse trike.

As you imply, I wouldn't want to be in a collision in one.

Although they claim to anticipate a five-star safety rating.
     
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Jul 7, 2013, 03:36 PM
 
I'm all for them. I hope the general public moves to this type of "car", provided they aren't rolling death traps (I've heard horror stories of what happens to people in Smart car accidents). One benefit is it would free-up more resources for enthusiast vehicles.
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Jul 7, 2013, 03:42 PM
 
Regarding safety and the five-star safety rating, I wonder what sort of false confidence drivers might have and what adjustments might be necessary with a car that narrow? Check out the pictures on the site.

I'm also wondering what riding in the back of those might be like.
     
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Jul 7, 2013, 04:08 PM
 
I wonder how easy they tip though, with only 1 wheel in back.
With only one wheel in back I would avoid Pirelli at any cost.
     
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Jul 7, 2013, 04:13 PM
 
I sometimes think that the thought that people put into what would happen in a collision is a wasted effort.

In a collision any number of things can happen, there wil be any number of factors at play, and some of those factors may work for against any vehicle type, no? I know we want to try to minimize the probability of something bad happening, but I've heard interesting reports of vehicles like Smart cars coming out really well on account of their design, I'm sure there are negative reports, and likewise the same is probably true of a giant SUV as well.

It seems to me that when you are in a collision, it is a roll of a dice what happens and what factors are the most influential to the outcome. A strategy I like: try not to get into car accidents.
     
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Jul 7, 2013, 04:36 PM
 
Dude. You're on crack.

My car would flatten that like a pancake.
     
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Jul 7, 2013, 04:47 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Dude. You're on crack.

My car would flatten that like a pancake.

Not necessarily. If you sideswiped it there would probably be a great big ricochet of some sort. It all depends on the circumstances.
     
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Jul 7, 2013, 04:54 PM
 
Right. You would ricochet, and I'd lose a little paint.

My car weighs five times more than that, and it's not even a true behemoth.
     
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Jul 7, 2013, 05:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Thank you Turtle, but do you see these cars selling in America?
Sure, the price alone will make it sell.

Personally, as long as I can afford it, I'd opt for more "luxurious" interior and safety features. E.g., I just feel safer during the winter in a Quattro with dedicated winter tires.

-t
     
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Jul 7, 2013, 05:16 PM
 
That's another issue. You live where there's snow, weight and ride height help.
     
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Jul 7, 2013, 05:18 PM
 
I see these selling initially far more in urban environments. On city streets. first of all there are fewer SUVs and behemoth vehicles, but secondly while travelling at much slower speeds I probably would be okay with riding these.

Don't a greater percentage of accidents happen in urban environments rather than the open highway anyway?
     
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Jul 7, 2013, 05:24 PM
 
For me they do. I've been in 5, and they were all in the city.
     
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Jul 7, 2013, 05:44 PM
 
It doesn't appear to have a spare tire. The crash animation comes closest to a cutaway view - the only extra space is under the passenger seat. That will be the gas tank. Though they could work it like the Honda Fit - move the gas tank under the front seat. Then a spare would fit under the back seat.

There is a small cargo cubby behind the passenger seat back, so it can carry a (very) little cargo along with a passenger. Or driver + groceries.

There's as much front crush space as other cars, and some modest crush space in back. It'll probably do OK in either type of collision. For side swipes, it had better have a solid frame and roll cage. Most of the weight is pretty low, so it will be hard to tip.

84 MPG on the highway (49 city). For under $7K. Yep, it'll sell.
     
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Jul 7, 2013, 05:50 PM
 
The big issue collision-wise is getting sandwiched.
     
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Jul 7, 2013, 06:00 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
The big issue collision-wise is getting sandwiched.
Sure, but there's a limit to what's possible in a sub $10k car.

Most people that can't afford more wont be worse off compared to buying some other cheap car that's a few years old.

The only way to have a safe sub $10k car is buying a worn out luxury car. But then, gas and maintenance will eat you alive.

-t
     
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Jul 7, 2013, 06:39 PM
 
They sell something like that in India for ~$4000, I believe it's called the Tata Nano. Why don't they just bribe the US DoT and sell that here?
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Jul 7, 2013, 09:24 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
Sure, but there's a limit to what's possible in a sub $10k car.

Most people that can't afford more wont be worse off compared to buying some other cheap car that's a few years old.
They will be if they get sammiched.

You've nailed point one. For sub $10K you shouldn't buy new.
     
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Jul 7, 2013, 10:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
They sell something like that in India for ~$4000, I believe it's called the Tata Nano. Why don't they just bribe the US DoT and sell that here?

I bet US safety regulations wouldn't permit a car like that here. The Smart car was first released in Europe (I think), and it took a while for them to make an American version of the car, I believe because part of it needed to be redesigned to pass regulations.
     
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Jul 8, 2013, 10:17 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
I bet US safety regulations wouldn't permit a car like that here. The Smart car was first released in Europe (I think), and it took a while for them to make an American version of the car, I believe because part of it needed to be redesigned to pass regulations.
Kind of right, the original Smart wasn't sold in the USA (it was in Canada though)


the mk 2 in 2007/8 was designed for USA regulations.

It'll be much easier if you just comply.
     
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Jul 8, 2013, 11:40 AM
 
although the elio wins in "sportscar looks" over the smart, I think that the smartcar type is more stable. Then again, I wouldn't want to be in either, or a motorcycle, in an accident.

While I don't use all my cargo space all the time, I find it very useful many many times a year. At least once a week.

As far as the rental market goes, I love zipcar in theory, and if I lived in the city and didn't pay a regular car payment already, renting when needed is a great option. However, if I were already paying a sedan payment, it would not make sense to rent a wagon when I needed it. The savings, if any, would not be worth the hassle.

I recently priced a rental car for a week. I considered renting a larger vehicle so that we could share the car with someone (who didn't need a rental). The minivan was 3x the price of renting a midsize sedan.
     
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Jul 8, 2013, 01:22 PM
 
My wife has a Smart car, I'm not afraid of accidents in it. For starters, I suspect these collision with semi/behemoth SUV on the highway cases are exceedingly rare, and cars like the Smart seem to do fine in little urban fender benders.

What's the point living life afraid of the worst possible scenarios?
     
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Jul 8, 2013, 05:14 PM
 
Not worrying is driving a five ton car. What you're talking about is ignoring.

     
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Jul 8, 2013, 05:20 PM
 
But five ton cars (I'm assuming you are referring to SUVs) have their reasons for worry too: visibility, Rob's crumple energy transferring theories, tipping, etc.

Again, the best strategy is to not have accidents on the highway.
     
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Jul 8, 2013, 05:20 PM
 
Originally Posted by andi*pandi View Post
I recently priced a rental car for a week. I considered renting a larger vehicle so that we could share the car with someone (who didn't need a rental). The minivan was 3x the price of renting a midsize sedan.
You can game the system to get a better rate. The primary motivator of which cars get rented is gas mileage. Something which doesn't get good mileage (like a van) ends up sitting on the lot.

If you go to the rental place around 1PM, you'll have a human who wants to get the cars off the lot and has a lot of leeway in terms of making that happen.
     
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Jul 8, 2013, 05:49 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
But five ton cars (I'm assuming you are referring to SUVs) have their reasons for worry too: visibility, Rob's crumple energy transferring theories, tipping, etc.

Again, the best strategy is to not have accidents on the highway.
The problem isn't you having an accident. The problem is someone having an accident with you. This goes doubly so considering how people text and drive now.

I do have an SUV, but as I said, it's not a huge one, so what it is is dense.

I'll fully admit it's an unfair comparison. I got my car specifically because it was really safe, but my point isn't you shouldn't drive an Elio or Smart, my point is those safety rating stars aren't going to protect you for shit in a real accident.

If you're going to drive a car which'll get obliterated in an accident, don't delude yourself with "but it has a good safety rating!"
     
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Jul 8, 2013, 08:59 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Car enthusiasts, what is your take on these cars?

Ultra High Mileage Car : Elio Motors

I like interesting cars, I hope that these sort of cars become realities and start to catch on. I grow tired of people justifying buying SUVs because they want to take family trips or haul something when they may only do this once a twice a year, at that. It seems like there is no car that is going to be everything for everybody, but in cities at least I hope to see the zip car thing really catch on so that renting cars for these special/unusual occasions becomes completely common place. It seems like for many people, these sub $7000 cars would be perfect for urban commuting which is the bulk of what many people do.
So... I trust you've already filled out your reservation for one this year?

If not, why?

I'm starting to hear about taxi services running their businesses differently, I hope that the car business and how we access/own/rent cars changes too, I really tire of the same old cars being made the same old way.
As long as there are families and soccer, softball, and football games, fishing, birthday parties, camping, bad snow, and road trips greater than 100 miles; vehicles with more cargo space / SUVs will always be a popular choice. Granted, this might all be meaningless to folks sitting in their tighty-whities basking in the glow of a monitor. The good news is a desire for greater performance across the board has driven the production of SUVs that are exponentially more friendly than their predecessors. They act and feel far more like sedans these days.
ebuddy
     
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Jul 8, 2013, 09:21 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
The problem isn't you having an accident. The problem is someone having an accident with you. This goes doubly so considering how people text and drive now.

I do have an SUV, but as I said, it's not a huge one, so what it is is dense.

I'll fully admit it's an unfair comparison. I got my car specifically because it was really safe, but my point isn't you shouldn't drive an Elio or Smart, my point is those safety rating stars aren't going to protect you for hashish in a real accident.

If you're going to drive a car which'll get obliterated in an accident, don't delude yourself with "but it has a good safety rating!"

I'm still not fully convinced that bigger/denser = safer in all cases (I also don't understand why somebody would buy a certain kind of car specifically because they think it will keep them safer, but that's a whole other argument. I'm assuming you don't own a motorcycle though?). I'm not defending Elio as much as I am this logic.

Bigger/denser may mean that you won't be crushed as readily, but there are numerous other safety factors worth looking into too.
     
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Jul 8, 2013, 09:28 PM
 
Originally Posted by ebuddy View Post
So... I trust you've already filled out your reservation for one this year?

If not, why?
I'm not in the market for a car right now, but even if I was I wouldn't buy something like this without waiting for some reviews and some other guinea pigs, but if everything checked out I certainly wouldn't be opposed to owning something like this.

As long as there are families and soccer, softball, and football games, fishing, birthday parties, camping, bad snow, and road trips greater than 100 miles; vehicles with more cargo space / SUVs will always be a popular choice. Granted, this might all be meaningless to folks sitting in their tighty-whities basking in the glow of a monitor. The good news is a desire for greater performance across the board has driven the production of SUVs that are exponentially more friendly than their predecessors. They act and feel far more like sedans these days.
No argument, I'm just saying that people just do boring old stuff like commute to work or run an errand far more often than the stuff you've listed, so I'm not satisfied with the notion of spending far more for something that has part-time use, and burning more gas during the bulk of its use.

Maybe in the future people will buy something like this (rather than a sedan) in addition to their larger vehicle? Maybe there will be part-time or shared leases or something for people that need to haul a boat only in season? Maybe we'll invent transformer vehicles that can transform from one form into another, as well as into fighting robots?

I don't know, I'm just saying that I get really excited about attempts to come up with new ideas and try new things. What we have now is quite flawed.
     
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Jul 9, 2013, 01:21 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
I'm still not fully convinced that bigger/denser = safer in all cases (I also don't understand why somebody would buy a certain kind of car specifically because they think it will keep them safer, but that's a whole other argument. I'm assuming you don't own a motorcycle though?). I'm not defending Elio as much as I am this logic.

Bigger/denser may mean that you won't be crushed as readily, but there are numerous other safety factors worth looking into too.
It doesn't have to safer in all circumstances, only most circumstances.

As for not understanding the rationale behind buying a safer car, that makes zero sense. The best I can come up with is you meant to say that rationale is mistaken, not that you find it hard to comprehend.
     
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Jul 9, 2013, 01:43 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
It doesn't have to safer in all circumstances, only most circumstances.

As for not understanding the rationale behind buying a safer car, that makes zero sense. The best I can come up with is you meant to say that rationale is mistaken, not that you find it hard to comprehend.
If safety were the dominant factor in the eyes of most, most people wouldn't buy sports cars and other enthusiast-type cars. Why do people drive cars like this, or motorcycles for that matter? You'd have to ask them, but one possible answer is that they'd rather have fun rather than worrying about their safety.

Worrying about your safety to the extent that you buy the safest possible vehicle (assuming that this can be defined for most circumstances), even if this isn't the sort of vehicle you wanted is the path to madness, I think. After all, any of number of things could happen to you with that safe vehicle that may not have at all, or to a lesser extent with another vehicle.

Moreover, if bigger is better, doesn't this just create an arms race of stupid where the next person that comes along wants to be even safer than you, so he gets something even bigger until we're all driving tanks? Do you ever think about whether your safety is at the expense of somebody else? Some say that the visibility on your average SUV is poor, so do you consider how you might be a danger to others?

Besides, don't you get tired of paying a gazillion dollars to feed your SUV in Chicago?
     
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Jul 9, 2013, 03:49 AM
 
In reverse order...

The city gas price thing sorta balances itself out. I'm in a city, so I can walk or take public transportation 90% of the time. Since the car is for distance, it gets filled up out of the city if possible.

Is my argument bigger is better, or is it heavier is better?

Where are you getting the idea I got a vehicle I didn't want to get in the first place? My point was for someone who has getting a really safe car high on their list of priorities, comparing how their choice will fare in a collision with the choice of someone holding totally different priorities isn't fair.

If you buy an Elio or a Smart, getting a really safe car isn't high on your list of priorities.
     
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Jul 9, 2013, 03:58 AM
 
     
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Jul 9, 2013, 04:07 AM
 
From the article:

"The institute noted that the front-end test scores can’t be compared across weight classes, meaning a small car that earns a good rating isn’t considered safer than a large car that did not earn the highest rating."


Q.E.D.
     
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Jul 9, 2013, 07:25 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
No argument, I'm just saying that people just do boring old stuff like commute to work or run an errand far more often than the stuff you've listed, so I'm not satisfied with the notion of spending far more for something that has part-time use, and burning more gas during the bulk of its use.
The average commute in the US is approximately 25 minutes each way. That's nearly an hour in a vehicle every day. Even the mundane would prefer a higher, safer perspective, plush leather interior, greater head and leg room, with perhaps some TV, and other amenities found in an average living room over, say... a golf cart vulnerable to everything including high winds and windspeeds and essentially looks like a vehicle more suited to breaking landspeed records than comfortable commuting.

Maybe in the future people will buy something like this (rather than a sedan) in addition to their larger vehicle? Maybe there will be part-time or shared leases or something for people that need to haul a boat only in season? Maybe we'll invent transformer vehicles that can transform from one form into another, as well as into fighting robots?
Or maybe they'll relax their desires to render everyone behind the wheel of what is little more than a motorcycle side-car.

I don't know, I'm just saying that I get really excited about attempts to come up with new ideas and try new things. What we have now is quite flawed.
The reason why most are driving sedans and SUVs is because the designs, costs, and other factors associated with motorcycle side-cars and golf carts; the type that would have consumers like you waiting on guinea-pigs, have traditionally been even more flawed. Otherwise, this isn't a new idea... it's basically a Can-Am Spyder with a hood and these sorts of "novelty-vehicles" have been around for decades.

In fairness to this Elio however, the $6800 price-tag is alluring and a welcome change to its traditionally way over-priced eco-friendly predecessors. This comes standard with heating and AC, three airbags, roll-cage, and AM/FM radio.
( Last edited by ebuddy; Jul 9, 2013 at 07:35 AM. )
ebuddy
     
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Jul 9, 2013, 07:36 AM
 
About 4 years ago now I was in an accident in my Smart, I was giving a girl from work a lift to a garage where her car was getting fixed. I was stationary on a road, waiting to turn off into the garage, a Mercedes ML coming behind didn't see me and went into the rear end, I went across the road, up the kerb and through the bollards at the front of the garage. It knocked me unconscious, when I woke up in hospital (still no memory of the crash, probably a good thing) I had a cut to the back of my head and a sore back, I was off work for a few weeks. My passenger was pretty much ok, a sore back and a few bruises like me, but she got out of the car and went over to the Merc driver. The Smart was written off, I happily replaced it with another, if it can take a Mercedes 4x4 up the back and keep me with everything intact, thats good enough for me.

This is how it ended up (iphone pic on dropbox so its not rotated)


It'll be much easier if you just comply.
     
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Jul 9, 2013, 01:19 PM
 
Originally Posted by ebuddy View Post
This comes standard with [...], and AM/FM radio.
I had to LOL when I read this. Is this supposed to clinch the deal ?

Seriously, 3.5mm audio Line-In is the minimum they need to provide.

-t
     
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Jul 9, 2013, 05:06 PM
 
Originally Posted by ebuddy View Post
The average commute in the US is approximately 25 minutes each way. That's nearly an hour in a vehicle every day. Even the mundane would prefer a higher, safer perspective, plush leather interior, greater head and leg room, with perhaps some TV, and other amenities found in an average living room over, say... a golf cart vulnerable to everything including high winds and windspeeds and essentially looks like a vehicle more suited to breaking landspeed records than comfortable commuting.
Why prejudge the comfort of these vehicles? I'm perfect comfortable in my wife's Smart car, I don't see any reason why I couldn't be equally comfortable in something like this. Maybe I'd feel differently if I were obese or something, and maybe it will turn out that these cars are very uncomfortable, but in the meantime I'm content to be open-minded.

Or maybe they'll relax their desires to render everyone behind the wheel of what is little more than a motorcycle side-car.
That motorcycle side-bar, as you call it, may provide a very intimiate driving experience different than anything you could imagine. You won't know until you give one a test drive. I definitely prefer driving my wife's Smart car or even my boring old Toyota Corolla over some stupid giant SUV that feels like I'm driving around a giant hunk of steel.

The reason why most are driving sedans and SUVs is because the designs, costs, and other factors associated with motorcycle side-cars and golf carts; the type that would have consumers like you waiting on guinea-pigs, have traditionally been even more flawed. Otherwise, this isn't a new idea... it's basically a Can-Am Spyder with a hood and these sorts of "novelty-vehicles" have been around for decades.

In fairness to this Elio however, the $6800 price-tag is alluring and a welcome change to its traditionally way over-priced eco-friendly predecessors. This comes standard with heating and AC, three airbags, roll-cage, and AM/FM radio.
You can keep on repeating "motorcycle side-cars" all you want, but there aren't any on the market right now, so all you are accomplishing in saying this is conveying close-mindedness. I take it you drive an SUV?
     
Clinically Insane
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Jul 9, 2013, 05:09 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
From the article:

"The institute noted that the front-end test scores can’t be compared across weight classes, meaning a small car that earns a good rating isn’t considered safer than a large car that did not earn the highest rating."


Q.E.D.
Fair enough. I'm probably not going to convince you at this point, so I don't have much more to say other than I'll happily continue driving my less-safe vehicles rather than devoting my energy to worrying about what I'm missing out on by driving a giant hunk of gas guzzling steel. I feel that life is better enjoyed by taking some risks and not worrying about things out of our control. I could be worrying about some tree falling on our house and crushing everything too after being struck by lightening, but I don't, and won't.
     
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Jul 9, 2013, 05:16 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
That motorcycle side-bar, as you call, may provide a very intimiate driving experience different than anything you could imagine. You won't know until you give one a test drive. I definitely prefer driving my wife's Smart car or even my boring old Toyota Corolla over some stupid giant SUV that feels like I'm driving around a giant hunk of steel.
My car is fun, but it's the kind of fun the cops highly disapprove of. You have to go past 100 before you even realize you're going fast.

A little sports car is fun at slower speeds.
     
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Jul 9, 2013, 05:29 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
My car is fun, but it's the kind of fun the cops highly disapprove of. You have to go past 100 before you even realize you're going fast.

A little sports car is fun at slower speeds.
Ok so what do you drive?
     
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Jul 9, 2013, 05:31 PM
 
An X5.
     
 
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