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Elio Motors introduces E1c engineering vehicle

Elio Motors, the start-up vehicle manufacturer planning to launch a three-wheel vehicle that will get up to 84 mpg with a set $7,300 base price, introduced its E1c engineering vehicle at the Los Angeles Auto Show last week.

While the exterior is similar to previous Elio prototypes, the E1c engineering vehicle features foundational and structural improvements to the frame, suspension, and safety systems that will ultimately create a more satisfying driving experience.

The E1c is part of Elio Motors’ E-Series vehicles, which are being built for testing and validation purposes. More than 80 percent of the E1c was assembled using soft tooling—short-term, low-cost production tools—to prove manufacturability and repeatability of individual parts prior to full production.

The E1c features a unibody frame, which allows for better absorption of energy and greater safety tuning of the vehicle. The unibody frame was developed specifically for Elio Motors by the Elio Motors engineering team, Schwab Industries and Roush Engineering. In addition to the safety benefits, the unibody frame also will improve the production vehicle’s fit and finish and will manufacturability.

The modified suspension will sharpen handling and improve aerodynamics, improve long-term vehicle durability and reduce noise, vibration and harshness (NVH).

The E1c is the first Elio Motors vehicle to feature airbags, a key component in Elio Motors’ Safety Management System, with two roof-rail side-curtain airbags and a driver airbag in the steering wheel.

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