Why the success of Elio Motors will boost electric mobility

Elio Motors prototypes

A cheap gas car that will be sold for $6,800 and gets 84 MPG will be the death of electric cars, right?

No, quite the opposite. Let me explain why.


Elio Motors P5, the fifth prototype is the sleekest Elio ever made


If the Elio Motors car reaches the mainstream it will prove that demand exists for aerodynamic rocket shaped cars that have tandem seats.

If it does happen there will be no excuse to not produce electric cars that follow the same concept. I’m thinking of electric car concepts like Opel Rak-e and Volkswagen Nils for example.

Since I never lose the opportunity to advertise my two favorite concept cars, that probably will never reach production, here they are.


Opel Rak-e concept car

I’ve simple tastes, Opel Rak-e is my dream car


Volkswagen Nils, the concept only has one seat


Elio Motors also said that an electric version of the car will arrive after the regular gas version proves its success. The gas version is expected to be on sale later this year.

An electric version of the Elio, due to its aerodynamic and low weight wouldn’t need a big battery to have a 200 miles range. This is the fastest way to make long range electric cars affordable.

Let’s do the math by comparing Elio with Volkswagen Golf. I’ll use the Golf since it has gas and electric versions.

Elio Motors (gas): 84 MPG

Volkswagen Golf (gas): 30 MPG


The Elio is 2,8 times more efficient than the Golf.

Volkswagen Golf’s electric version, the e-Golf has an EPA range of 83 miles with its 24,2 kWh battery.

If the Elio electric version is also 2,8 times more efficient than the Golf’s electric version we can get 2,8 times more range with the same battery capacity or the same range with 2,8 times less battery capacity.

Elio Motors electric car with a 24,2 kWh battery would get 232,4 miles range.

Elio Motors electric car with a 8,64 kWh battery would get 83 miles range.

Imagine a Tesla Model A (Aero) with the sleek style of the Elio P5 and an optional 44 kWh battery for 422 miles range or 22 kWh for 211 miles range. It would destroy ICE cars. We wouldn’t have to choose between range or affordability, we could have both.

My raw calculations aren’t exact science, but underline the importance of better efficiency to get an affordable 200 miles range electric car. The current solution of putting bigger batteries to improve range it’s not ideal for every situation. It makes the car more expensive, heavier and less efficient, meaning more running costs and longer time to charge in a domestic electric socket.

While it’s great to see electric cars like the Chevrolet Bolt or Nissan Leaf 2 coming with 200 miles range, we shouldn’t forget that bigger batteries aren’t the only way to reach the 200 miles range goal.

An electric Elio would not only be a great commuter car, but also an everyday car that we would use when don’t need to transport more than two persons or much luggage. It would also be great for car sharing services.



More info:




Pedro Lima

My interest in electric transportation is mostly political. I’m tired of coups and wars for oil. My expectation is that the adoption of electric transportation will be a factor for peace and democracy all over the world.

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Ralf K
5 years ago

Your dream car kind of exists: Twike III or coming later Twike 5.
It’s super efficient, just expensive due to very low production figures. Twike III already achieves 500 km of range from about 22 kWh.
Twike 5 will get about 400 km of range from about 30 kWh, due to being made from automotive components.

5 years ago
Reply to  Pedro Lima

The Arcimoto SRK is quite an achievement! And the new generation (8) is, at the least, quite beautiful 🙂

Ralf K
5 years ago

You might also like this -4-wheeler, single driver light car from a start-up in Germany:
Though, there is no series production yet.