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Discussion in 'Elio Drivetrain' started by Mr Deleon, Dec 23, 2014.
Zero Turn Radius
Just realized I made this post in 2014! Boy how time flies!
The Elio is almost all-wheel-drive, anyway... it's just ONE wheel away!
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From someone living in snow country, I don't see a need for 3 wheel drive. Elio is already front wheel drive, and that is the best thing to ever come down the pike for the average driver in snowy conditions. (Just add a set of Blizzaks.) Having had a FWD Subaru wagon when I lived in the country, the FWD got used less than 1% of the time. I would often go a whole winter without using it, and I don't think there was truly ever a situation that front wheel drive alone would not have sufficed. Figure in the added manufacturing expense, and the expense of maintenance and fuel penalty, and it's just something I wouldn't add.
The OEM front tire size is not yet available in the United States, with few options available on the European market. Continental would be introducing that size to our tire market.
Do a search on reputable tire retailers' websites (TireRack, Discount Tire, Costco, Wal*Mart, etc), enter the Elio front tire size of 135/80R15, and you'll get "No results found" on most U.S. retailers. The rear tire isn't as much of an issue, but with a front-engine, front-wheel drive vehicle, the front tires are critical for traction and braking performance.
I've sent Elio messages addressing the lack of options in their unique front tire size. At a minimum, if Continental will hold the monopoly on the U.S. market for that size, I pleaded that they encourage Continental to invest in the necessary R&D for development and production of a winter tire in that size (or comparable up/down sizing to be accommodated by OEM wheel skirts/fenders).
I checked TireRack, Pep Boys, Belle Tire, Discount Tire, Goodyear, Wal*Mart, and Costco websites, and none of them carry the 135/80R15 tire size in stock.
The following European retailers currently stock it though:
Manufacturers of that size include:
Look at it this way........
When Elio is successful, other manufactures will start producing variants in that tire size to get a piece of the action.
Until then they would be foolish to produce something that there is no market for.
I think along the same lines of the original poster who suggested throwing a set of Bridgestone Blizzak winter tires on for the 3-4 months when it's prudent. I have a set of Blizzak winter tires for my Jeep Patriot and wholeheartedly preach the safety benefits to changing tires to match the seasons.
The top three winter tire brands, by many accounts, include the Bridgestone Blizzak, Michelin X-Ice XI3, and Continental WinterContact SI. If Continental can simply apply their winter tire technologies to a size suitable for the Elio, cold weather users would be set.