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A Late Article: Elio P5 at Iola Old Car Show

Illustration for article titled A Late Article: Elio P5 at Iola Old Car Show

Sadly, they didn’t let me drive this one this time. Elio’s Head of Media Relations was taking her first vacation in 3 years, so there wasn’t anyone to give the go-ahead.

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Room for an LS swap?
Room for an LS swap?

It’s got the actual Elio motor - 3 cyl 0.9L making 55HP and 55Ft/Lbs. torque. In testing, with the bottom grill open this car gets 81mpg. With the grille closed it’s well over 84mpg. This one’s still a prototype, hence the MSD ignition and Wilwood brake and clutch master cylinders. The tubular header is what it’ll have in production - minus all the holes for probes and individual O2 sensors.

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Elio P5 interior - 2016.
Elio P5 interior - 2016.

This one has a mockup dash - the gauges don’t work. It is the 5-speed though, using the same transmission that’s in a 2016 Yaris. It also has nicer HVAC controls compared to the Vintage Air setup in the P4, pictured below.

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Elio P4 prototype, 2015.
Elio P4 prototype, 2015.

The P5 feels just as solid as the P4 did last year. A shame, really, that it’s already obsolete.

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In 2015, the P4 was the newest revision of the Elio and the P5 was a bare chassis sitting in their prototyping shop. In 2016, the P5 was already replaced by the E1a engineering prototype, unveiled the week before the car show.

E1a, at the unveiling ceremony, with the chassis of E1b to the right. Photo courtesy Elio Motors
E1a, at the unveiling ceremony, with the chassis of E1b to the right. Photo courtesy Elio Motors
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The Elio folks wouldn’t tell me too much about the E1a, but they did tell me it has a modified front bumper and full aero belly pan to help hit the 84mpg mark. After the press conference, the E1a was given to Continental for tire, suspension, and handling testing. (Note that the E1a doesn’t have headlights. I assume it’s just because it’s an engineering mule.)

Prototype E1b is probably complete as you read this, while E1c and E1d are being manufactured. They plan on making Engineering prototypes through E1x, but anticipate by E1t that the car will be finalized and they can gear up production. I’ve been told the initial cars will be designated S prototypes (Soft-Mold) and will be used to make sure there’s no issues in manufacturing, as well as EPA emissions testing and crash testing. After the final S prototype is made and everything is verified and double-checked, production will start at an estimated 300 cars per day for the first 90 days, gradually ramping to 1000 cars per day after that.

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Elio looks well on-track to be putting the first cars in customer hands sometime in the first half of 2017.

Illustration for article titled A Late Article: Elio P5 at Iola Old Car Show
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I hope the carbon-fiber headlights stay.

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