So what’s up with three-wheeling Elio Motors these days, you ask? Well the automaker, which dubs itself the next big thing in transportation, is traveling to the LA Auto Show this year to unveil its experimental three-wheeler dubbed the P5. Yes, it’s the fifth-generation prototype of its concept vehicle which Elio hopes to bring to market next year for under $7,000.
Official CAD renderings reveal that the P5 takes futuristic design cues from the company’s previous concepts a step further. Its front wheels are completely enclosed in order to reduce drag and a narrow and the shape of its highly aerodynamic body is vaguely reminiscent of the Volkswagen XL1.
The P5 isn’t the back-to-the-basics machine its eco-friendly aspirations might suggest it is. Inside, its cockpit offers space for a single passenger and a comprehensive list of equipment that includes power locks and windows, cup holders, parking sensors, and even a USB port. A rear-view camera partially makes up for the fact that the trike has no rear window.
Power is provided by a 0.9-liter three-cylinder gasoline engine developed specifically for Elio Motors by Germany-based IAV Automotive Engineering. Full technical details aren’t out yet, but the startup predicts its first car will get 84-mpg on the highway thanks in part to an ultra-low weight. Elio Motors also claims the P5 can go from 60-mph in 9.6 seconds with a top speed of 100-mph.
The P5 is billed as a prototype, but Elio Motors hopes it will ultimately spawn a regular-production model aimed largely at commuters. If everything goes as planned, the three-wheeler will go on sale late next year with a base price of about $6,800, a figure that will make it the cheapest new car on the market by a long shot. It will be built in a former General Motors factory located in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Currently the company says it has more than 46,000 Elio vehicle reservations.