Off-topic: QRP automobile

elio_1Forgive me for writing what may seem like an advertisement…

I’ve just made a deposit to secure the purchase of my next car – a QRP three-wheeler known as the Elio. It is the antithesis of my Chevy Silverado in just about every way and will be an “also” car rather than a replacement for that fine vehicle.

I like not only the specs of the car but also the innovation behind it and the business model that will market it and allow it to be purchased by people who may not otherwise be able to afford a new car.

Here are the relevant specs: 82 mpg and $6800.

Also, power windows, A/C, airbags, etc.

They will be built in Shreveport, LA and can be purchased at the gas pump. That is, by using elio_2Elio‘s credit card, fuel purchases will result in a deduction equal to twice the amount paid for the gasoline. This additional amount goes toward paying for the car.

The very same sense of efficiency and “economy of resources” that appeals to many QRPers (including me at times) is what I think attracts me to this car. That, along with a love of gadgets, whether QRP radios or automotive/mechanical.

I’d be willing to bet that the same is true of many QRPers – or hams in general.

Check out their website here. And, no – I don’t work for Elio




  8 comments for “Off-topic: QRP automobile

  1. Jerry N4EO/YI9EO
    May 29, 2014 at 8:51 pm

    I want this when I win the lottery…3 wheel morgan….


    • May 29, 2014 at 10:21 pm

      Nice – love that V-twin up front.

  2. May 30, 2014 at 1:11 am

    Nice car but not really interesting when you have a family. But just to have a gadget….it’s still a lot of money…73, Bas

  3. Wes Spence
    May 30, 2014 at 6:17 am


    I believe in Texas, a three-wheeled vehicle is classified as a motorcycle, and you have to have a motorcycle endorsement to operate it. 73, Wes, AC5K

  4. May 30, 2014 at 8:12 am

    Hi Bas – yes it is impractical for a family but for someone who drives 55 km to/from work, it will eventually pay for itself in gas savings (of course that depends on what you are already driving).

    Yes, it is *currently” considered a motorcycle due to having only three wheels – but it also has rack & pinion steering, A/C, power locks and windows and an enclosure. I can see a good case being made that it is a car. It is only a matter of time that vehicles such as these will be considered cars – at least if various governments want to continue to appear “green” while that sentiment is still in vogue.

    There is a very good chance that the whole concept of this car is vaporware and it will never come to fruition. They are already a year behind their initial schedule of where they said they’d be at this point and the idea of them marketing the car as a modular kit has been proposed…an idea that appeals to me even more than a finished car.

    • jerry terres
      May 31, 2014 at 12:52 pm

      Hi John,
      My daughter just got her doctorate in statistics at Duke in Duham, North Carolina where I saw the Elf. Check out Sort of a hybrid tricycle. I thought it could use a small gasoline engine. These are similar to a concept car that GM had a mock up of at Disneyworld in Orlando after the ‘test track’ ride many years ago. My current car is a Honda Fit. First time I lifted the hood I thought, wow, that is a tiny engine. I began to think of it as being like a 4 wheel motorcycle, 4 wheels so it doesn’t fall over and covered so I can stay out of the wind and rain. When I was in college one of my dorm mates had one of the first Honda cars, it was pretty low to the ground and as I remember it had a chain drive to the rear axle. There was a company in Palo Alto making motorized rechargeable skateboards.The idea, you could take public transportation to get close to work and the skateboard completes the last leg of the trip, light enough and small enough to carry and not have to park. They could go up the hills in San Francisco. So, my ideal might be a hybrid with a small, turbo atkinson or deisel engine, & that can also be charged up off the grid and still light enough that if you need to, you can pedal instead. Roof is always solar cells. Probably no ac (tough in texas) and most likely a helmet advisable…. Have fun and good luck.
      jer aa1of franconia nh

      • May 31, 2014 at 6:42 pm

        That’s a neat looking little “car” Jerry. Concept cars have always been a feature of Popular Science and other magazines but I think we’ll finally see more and more of them actually being produced in the near future. The Prius broke the mold in a lot of ways and I know there are many other hybrids now to choose from – and clean diesel – but most of them are too expensive compared to gas versions. Those who buy them aren’t trying to save money – they’re trying to help the environment. Not a bad thing, but when costs get to the point where they’re competitive overall, we’ll start to see more innovative cars.

        You’re right – we do need A/C down here. Not a summer month goes by that I don’t ponder how my ancestors made it, working outdoors with cattle and cotton. They’d be amazed at what a wimp they spawned in me…

        And congrats to your daughter – what an accomplishment, and from an excellent school.

  5. Charlie, WA2ONH
    July 31, 2014 at 11:20 am


    Recent article on FastCompany link noted herein…

    As of 7.19.2014 , 25,000 reservations taken.

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