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Elio Motors Updates Test Vehicle, Again


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Elio Motors Inc. continues to tweak the three-wheel vehicle it plans to launch late next year.

The latest prototype, dubbed the E1c Engineering Vehicle, gets a new frame, suspension, safety systems and interior features. Elio unveiled the updated vehicle, which retains the same basic exterior design, on Thursday at the Los Angeles auto show.

The car, to be powered by a 900-cc, 3-cylinder engine, is expected to deliver 84 miles per gallon and a top speed of 100 mph.

More than 80% of the E1c was assembled using “soft tooling” to prove manufacturability and repeatability of individual parts. The company says it plans to make further changes to the vehicle’s transmission and swap out the prototype’s SMC body panels for steel units.

Elio developed the unibody frame in partnership with Schwab Industries and Roush Engineering. The new design provides safety benefits and will improve fit and finish and manufacturability, according to the company. It says the modified suspension will enhance handling and aerodynamics, improve durability and reduce noise, vibration and harshness. New safety features.

Company officials say they have received more than 62,000 reservations for the tiny three-wheeler, which will be priced at $7,300. The seven-year-old, Phoenix, Ariz.-based startup plans to produce the vehicle at a former General Motors plant in Shreveport, La.

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