Elio Motors, who just revealed the fourth-generation prototype of their three-wheeled, $6,800, 84-MPG car at the Sundance Film Festival, announced this week an agreement that will allow Continental Engineering Services to design the segment-busting car’s electrical system as well as what Elio called a “Flexible Smart Phone Docking Station.”
According to the press release from Elio Motors, this is a division of the same Continental that makes tires. Interestingly, the release noted Elio Motors’ tire supplier is Cooper Tires. Reckon coming to an agreement with Continental Engineering Services on designing the electrical system of the car was awkward when the Continental mothership knew it wasn’t getting Elio’s tire business?
Elio Motors CEO, Founder, and namesake Paul Elio said, “I am thrilled to continue to build our relationships with the world’s leading suppliers and developers. Working with Continental Engineering Services will allow Elio Motors to stay on top of technological trends, like in-vehicle smart phone docking stations. Combined with our composite body panels that deter outside noises from reaching the cockpit, drivers and passengers can enjoy the purest listening quality.”
Continental Engineering Services North America Head Vinh Tran said, “Continental Engineering Services is proud to be a part of the Elio development team. We are working toward adapting Continental products for use on their new vehicle together. Our expert engineers are providing engineering solutions for the Elio concept in the area of E/E Architecture and body and engine control development. Our engineering service team is versatile and dynamic to help start-up companies like Elio Motors.”
According to Continental Engineering Services’ information document, the E/E stands for Electrical/Electronic. The focus for Continental is to engineer a reliable wiring and power system for the three-wheeled Elio.
But designing an all-new wiring and electronics system is a given when building an all-new car. What I’m more interested in is seeing just how “flexible” this Flexible Smart Phone Docking Station really is. If it’ll plug into both an iPhone’s lightning plug and my Samsung’s tiny USB, that would make a pretty convincing argument in Elio’s (and Continental’s) favor. I’m also curious to see if it will integrate beyond simple Bluetooth hands-free calling. Will the Elio get voice texting? Pandora connectivity? The ability to read your Google Maps driving directions out over the car’s speakers? Time will tell.