Elio Motors 84 mpg 3-wheeler [Image: Elio Motors]
If you're one of their 17,000 or so Facebook fans it'll be hard to forget, as the company's little green three-wheeled vehicle will be a regular fixture on your timeline.
As The Detroit News reports, Elio has just released a new prototype of the tiny gasoline-powered vehicle, set to be built at an ex-GM facility in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Alongside the prototype, Elio also announced the names of several suppliers on-board the project, including Altair Engineering, IAV, NEWTECH 3, Comau and more--many of which already serve dozens of other huge automakers.
With a claimed $6,800 price tag and an 84 mpg highway headline figure, the buzz surrounding the company isn't hard to understand. It seems to side-step the usual issue with personal transportation--it can be either economical, or it can be cheap, but it cannot do both to any great extent.
Too many fuel efficient vehicles, electric cars and others skim along the surface of reality without ever making a splash, priced way beyond what most can afford, or complex to the point no startup company can reasonably expect to survive.
But the Elio might be different. The looks of such a vehicle will always be an acquired taste, as will the two-seat tandem layout, but the fuel economy figures look great whoever you are, as does the price, and its use of a small-capacity gasoline engine keeps it endearingly simple too.
And while some might prefer such a thing to be powered by electricity, customers' familiarity with traditional engines might actually work in its favor.
The latest prototype's launch event attracted several hundred people, according to Elio's Facebook page, many of whom have already reserved an example of the car for $100.
We're naturally skeptical of three-wheeled vehicles from small companies, as they don't have the greatest track record for success. Take a bow, Aptera.
And it's only fair that we remain skeptical until Elio three-wheelers start pouring out of the factory gates... and seen the company stay afloat in those troublesome first few years.
But by "Keeping It Simple, Stupid", Elio might have a better chance than most at finding that economic sweet spot.