Forward momentum is important. No matter the mode of transportation, getting from Point A to Point B requires motion. While trains and buses are popular modes of transportation, control is an afterthought for those waiting until they reach their destination. For most of us, a personal vehicle is our primary source of transportation, and steering these vehicles is paramount in controlling forward momentum. Below, we will look at how Elio drivers will be able to steer their vehicles in the right direction and save at the same time.
In a previous Momentum, we highlighted the Elio’s suspension. In case you missed it, the Elio is a front-wheel-drive vehicle with an independent suspension, ABS brakes, and Electronic Stability Control. When considering the Elio’s steering mechanisms, two options were presented: rack and pinion or steering-box system. With the Elio’s light weight, the rack-and-pinion system was the clear choice.
The direct drive rack-and-pinion system is simple. The base of a vehicle’s steering column has a small pinion which meshes with a long traverse bar. Movement of the pinion moves the traverse bar, steering the vehicle. Rack-and-pinion has become a popular system in the automotive industry due to its simplicity. The turning radius of the Elio is currently 28.9 feet. From a 12 o’clock position, it takes 2.8 turns to move the vehicle in a full right or left position.
In recent years, the rack-and-pinion system is widely used in conjunction with power steering. In larger, more expensive vehicles, power steering has become a necessary feature. There are three primary reasons our rack-and-pinion system is sufficient for easy turning without the addition of power steering.
Power steering requires power from the engine, which results in a less powerful vehicle. Using a standard rack-and-pinion system improves our 0-60 time and top speed.
Power steering involves several components which add weight to the vehicle. Additionally, the geometry and weight of the Elio makes power steering an unnecessary feature. By not using power steering, we are able to keep the Elio light weight and easy to steer.
The components included in power steering add not only additional weight, but cost as well. Working with our suppliers of the rack-and-pinion system (MVO USA and Admiral Tool) we are able to keep costs low and pass these savings along to Elio owners.
As you may know, every decision we make regarding the vehicle must adhere to our four tenets: safety, made in the USA, fuel-efficiency, and affordability. Using a rack-and-pinion system without power steering allows us to improve our fuel economy while also cutting costs. The Elio will take drivers many different places, and they’ll be able to steer the vehicle to their destinations with ease.