Elio Motors Production to Start in 2015 … Maybe


Elio Motors

According to recent reports, Elio Motors – a would-be startup carmaker with plans to bring a Geo Metro-powered enclosed motorcycle to production – has raised nearly $7 million dollars and has completed a deal to lease the old GM Shreveport plant. Elio hopes to hire 1500 local workers and begin production of its tiny three-wheeler as early as 2015 . Which, if you’ve been paying attention, should all sound pretty familiar.

Indeed, when the Caddo parish commissioners voted to use Louisiana’s tax dollars to buy the old Shreveport plant back in September, the decision was made with the understanding that IRG (the company hired by Caddo parish to oversee the property) would give Elio “first priority” to lease the space. Additionally, the Caddo parish agreement with IRG would see that company investing about $7 million into Elio on the condition that the rest of Elio Motors’ stated funding goals (as presented to the Caddo parish) were met. All of which sort of begs the question: did Elio really meet its funding goals, or are they just recycling old news?

I got in touch with Elio Motors back in November, and asked for an interview. Despite answering all my questions related to investing in Elio, I never heard back about that interview.

As of this writing, I’ve reached out to Elio once again to see if this latest news is real, or just more proof that Paul Elio is smarter than the automotive press-as-a-whole. As for all you residents of Shreveport, LA hoping that Elio’s dream comes through and you can land a sweet manufacturing gig in the process, Elio claims that “acquiring this (old GM) plant and all of the equipment in a fully operational state will allow Elio Motors to thrive right off the bat once commercial vehicle production begins in 2015.”

How useful any of that old GM equipment that was used to build Hummers will actually be in the production of Elios’ lightweight three-wheeler, however, remains to be seen – but, for what it’s worth, I’m glad to see that Caddo parish commissioner Matthew Linn, is on the ball. Back in September, Linn described the $7.5 million dollar purchase of the plant as a good deal, saying that “scrap value on the building was, two months ago, eight million forty thousand (dollars), and the price of copper has skyrocketed since then. So, it’s worth more than that now.” Which is good news for Lousiana taxpayers.


Source | Photos: MLive, via Green Car Reports.

About the Author

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.
  • JJ

    My question is how does it handle the hills (torque)? Otherwise, I love telling the Arabs oil kings to stick their heads where the sun don’t shine. Let’s keep our wealth here at home.

    • Actually, it should handle hills, etc. just fine! Power/weight isn’t the Trikke’s problem.

  • Harley

    Jo, I just caught wind of the Elio from the CES trade show, and have since been researching with interest. I’ve enjoyed your critical commentary, although I question your criticism of the base concept considering that Toyota also unveiled a similar concept in an electric variant called the iRoad. If the concept was fundamentally flawed, I have a hard time accepting that a major automotive manufacturer like Toyota would follow suite.

  • Knuckles Mutatis

    IF they actually produce this vehicle, AND it lives up to its specs and price, they will sell an unbelievable amount of them.
    Here’s hoping!

  • DapperDon

    Hummm, this sounds fascinating and all but I am a little suspicious. This isn’t the first time someone has promised a three wheeled car that get 80 miles to the gallon.
    For example:
    The Dale: In the depths of the Energy Crisis, a very tall and very brash
    woman named Liz Carmichael emerged with the “prototype” of a
    three-wheeled car — the Dale — that would allegedly get more than 80 mpg
    and be as safe as a conventional car. Claiming to be the widow of the
    NASA engineer who designed the car, Carmichael solicited “investments”
    in 20th Century Motors, the parent company of the Dale. When investors
    inquired further, they found that Carmichael had disappeared, and that
    she was actually the former Jerry Dean Michael. Carmichael/Michael was
    arrested after an episode of “Unsolved Mysteries,” discovered working at
    a flower shop.

    So, I think I would personally be a little cautious about sending these people a hundred or 15 hundred dollars to “reserve” a car. If they actually produce these, then I will certainly take a look. But I’m not going to buy a pig in a poke.