Elio Quietly Unveils Engine Prototype

As we continue to watch the development of the Elio three-wheeled car, on which thousands of people have pinned their hopes of future transportation, we learned (through the grapevine) that Elio quietly unveiled their engine prototype without pomp or fanfare.

The company had, as is their usual, delayed the unveiling of the engine last month, citing “scheduling conflicts” for its key suppliers. Now, that unveiling has taken place, but without any official announcement beforehand (that we could find) to the effect. Instead, Elio unveiled the engine via YouTube and with a press release sent not to the automotive press (i.e. us), but instead to supporters and stakeholders. We were alerted to it by a friend who’s $100 deposit, he says, now “looks like $100 t-shirt.”

The 0.9-liter, three-cylinder engine will power the Elio three-wheeler. Originally, Elio had planned to use an off-the-shelf engine in the car, but apparently rethought those plans. “We are literally trying to reinvent the auto industry, so why go the conventional route and rework someone else’s engine?” said Paul Elio, President and CEO of Elio Motors. “There really was nothing available that combined the speed and power that we want and our customers deserve. IAV came through with an outstanding execution of today’s best technology that will be a cornerstone to delivering a world-class vehicle.”

Longevity and durability testing be damned, I guess. Elio faces an extreme uphill battle, with funding not readily coming forward and with engineering-style decisions like this new engine further delaying production – which has been delayed to “2016” (this time), marking its third such delay in five years.

Specifications for the engine were not given during the unveil, outside of displacement and cylinder count. The one minute video below shows the engine on a dynamometer being throttled up to peak RPM and back down. The screen has an inset showing the instruments measuring it, but even in HD quality, reading that output is difficult and not very informative.


Aaron Turpen
An automotive enthusiast for most of his adult life, Aaron has worked in and around the industry in many ways. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press (RMAP), the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA), the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA), and freelances as a writer and journalist around the Web and in print. You can find his portfolio at AaronOnAutos.com.