Everyone who sees the three-wheeled car wonders what the Elio Motors safety record will look like once the car is in production. The upstart automaker discussed exactly that topic in a recent e-mail.
The e-mail said the unconventional, 84 MPG, $6,800 tandem two-seat commuter machine is expected to earn a five-star crash test rating from NHTSA. That’s not news. What is news is the level of detail shared about Elio Motors safety planning:
knowing that a vehicle is only as safe as scientifically demonstrated during collision testing, Elio Motors is going to follow a similar process to other OEM’s. One where tests are conducted approximately six months after the vehicle reaches the market. (click on pictures to be linked to Elio – The Science of Safety video)
In such a process, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will around this time-frame purchase a vehicle from “the lot” unannounced to ensure that it is representative of the Elio production vehicle and will then place it through a series of crash tests. Such tests serve as a means to provide consumers with information about the crash protection and rollover safety of a new vehicle beyond what is required by statute.
Prior to these tests being completed by NHTSA, the Elio will be deemed “safe” well in advance to the results being known and before the vehicle even hits the streets. This is because Elio Motors will conduct the same engineering simulations and crash tests by a third party test facility prior to the official testing.
- Selecting the Elio Motors safety supplier partner that manufactures the parts utilized in the majority of vehicle makers today. And, who also just so happens to have engineered the precision of safety products to the millisecond for over 70 years.
- Incorporating an Elio Safety Management System of vehicle dynamics, seat belts, three airbags, reinforced high strength steel roll cage with side intrusion beams, ABS, stability control and crush zones for the front and back.
Together, through each engineering decision and crash test Elio Motors and team engages in, we will continue to strive towards the highest standards of excellence in safety.
One has to wonder how mass will factor into the safety equation. The Elio stands to be just about the smallest car to hit our streets since the Smart ForTwo. I shudder to think what an Elio-vs-half-ton truck crash would look like. I’m also very curious how the Elio, which is about half the width of a normal car because of its tandem seating arrangement, will fare in side-impact crash testing.