Elio Motors Predicts More Delays for 3 Wheeler


Paul Elio, Elio Motors

Despite having raised some $55 million, collecting more than 15,000 deposits, and seemingly securing the old GM assembly plant in Shreveport, LA, Paul Elio told the Shreveport Times production of his low-cost 3 wheeler — set to enter series production by March 2015 — will be delayed due to a funding delay from 2013.

This delay is the latest in a series of delays for Elio Motors, which had originally hoped to have three-wheelers built in Pontiac, Michigan in the hands of customers and on the road by 2012.

Even if all of that $55 million is still around, Elio is well short of his $200 million “starting” budget, and hopes that a $7.5 million cash injection from Stuart Lichter (an industrial developer hired by the plant’s owners to oversee development of the property (and who was appointed to Elio’s board as part of that deal) will lead to a successful next round of fundraising.

“Starting a new vehicle company is not cheap,” said Elio. “We have a tremendous amount of momentum and it’s going very well for us,” he continued. It’s hard to say, however, how much of that is PR-speak in the face of what is (optimistically) a $145 million chasm standing between where Elio is at and where Elio needs to be.

Lichter, for his part, explained that his efforts to find tenants for the Shreveport plant were suspended late last year in order to allow state officials time to negotiate a potential deal with a company interested in the plant. After that deal did not pan out, Elio’s lease became active (though Lichter has resumed actively searching for potential tenants).

As of now, Elio says he’ll hire about 800 workers in June of 2015 to begin production sometime in September. That assumes, of course, that he’s able to raise the $145 million he needs “to get started”.


Source | Photos: Shreveport Times.

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.
  • egogg

    Shock! Surprise! /s

    This company’s similarities to Aptera are starting to go way beyond the tadpole design.

    • Aptera’s design, at least, seemed innovative.

      • egogg

        Point. I even put down a deposit for an Aptera. I was that starry-eyed. As it stands, if I ever see one of these Elio’s used, and the company is still in business to get parts, I’ll buy it then. I don’t ever expect that chain of events to occur.

        • I’d probably buy an Elio on a lark, if I thought I could tune it or if it was electric.

          • Alan3008

            It’s a gas engine only.

    • Jeffkan1

      That stinks the Aptera didn’t pan out, sorry to hear that. But in reality, the Elio’s similarities to Aptera stop at the 3-wheel-vehicle-startup-company-fact. Aptera put most of their energy into a Dept of Energy loan. Aptera battled govt for years and lost. The 3-wheel design was changed to meet 738 federal safety standards for cars. Aptera tried to change, after so much time was spent on the 3-wheel concept and design, and go with a 4-wheel concept and design. Aptera didn’t get enough laws changed to ensure their success. They paid attention to other companies like Tesla and Fisker getting loans. Aptera was able to get only 5000 folks in California to deposit $500 each. Elio may fail, but it’s not for the reasons that Aptera failed. Plus, any new vehicle startup company is going to have delays.
      Again, sorry that you got burned. I would do the same in your shoes and wait until Elios are on the road.

  • I wish Elio Motors the best of luck as it appears to be an innovative design, but it just looking more and more to be another under-capitalized dream. Shades of Tucker …

    • Except Tucker used cutting-edge technology to build a truly unique vehicle that, even now, decades later, hasn’t really been seen again. Where are the rear-engined, high-compression, 6 passenger, ultra-safe sedans? It’s only been a few years since Lexus and Mercedes started talking about headlights that steer around corners – and even they haven’t gotten around to Tucker’s quick-change engine/trans.

      • What I meant was, an individual’s dream and passion does not translate into working capital to allow mass production of vehicles; I stand by that.

        But, now that you mention it, No, there was no cutting edge technology in the Tucker. At all. I know the movie would suggest otherwise, but that’s Disney,not reality.

        The truth is, the Tucker engine was not even a “Tucker,” rather, simply an off-the-shelf Franklin air-cooled mill, that Tucker engineers (inexplicably) converted to water cooling. ( It wasn’t particularly high compression, either, by the way).

        No other rear-engined luxury cars? Actually, the Tatra 603 and 613 belies that claim, but I’ll concede the point– they’re rare to the vanishing point. So what? the reason that rear-engined sedans haven’t taken off is simple: they’re fundamentally a bad idea. First, a rear engine increases the polar moment of inertia, making the handling dubious at best, and is a nightmare for packaging (i.e. luggage space, passenger space, etc.) for no real practical gain. Different, yes. Better? hardly.
        As to the oft-repeated claim that Tuckers were “safety” vehicles, well, that certainly was one of Tucker’s claims, but like so many of his, it’s long on hype, and short on reality. In actuality (like other cars of the day) the Tucker had no seatbelts, no deformable crumple zones, no side-intrusion beams, its “padded dash” wasn’t designed properly and its turning light made no sense. My god, the thing had drum brakes! The Tucker did incorporate crash bulkheads to protect the passenger compartment and keep the roof from collapsing in a rollover – but so did the Chrysler, Dodge, and DeSoto Airflow and Airstream bodies, and they did it a decade earlier. And finally, the most cynical marketing hype of all: the “crash chamber” where hapless drivers were to dive in the event of an imminent collision. Exactly what circumstances could possibly arise where you had time to dive into the chamber but not avoid the collision was left entirely to the imagination. The pop-out windshield was ahead of its time, as was the collapsible steering column, but that’s about it.
        Most of his “innovations” were ideas that didn’t actually make it into the few production cars. By way of example his innovative transmission? Nope, conventional (and lousy) three-speed manual on the steering column.

        The Tucker was an interesting car but this myth of a superior product killed off by the avarice of big Detroit is just nonsense.

        • Agree re: the movie being ridiculous. As for the Tatra, that is a VERY good point, but that’s hardly a current car.

          • Yeah–I admit, I had to dog deep for that one. Also, I’m being a little hard on the Tucker–it did have some innovations that would have been very welcome in 1948.
            The point I’m trying to make is, innovation and passion are no substitute for bucks. On the other hand, I’m pulling for the Elio, I just have my doubts as to its viability.

          • Truth.

            As for pulling for Elio, regardless of what you think the man, Paul Elio, or the company’s plans/lack of plans, the reality is that thousands of people have put their hopes- and their cash!- behind Elio, already, and they will be the ones who suffer most if it doesn’t happen (which seems all to likely, at this point).

          • Elio Fan

            Putting money down on a Elio is no different than buying stock, going to the horse track, going to the casino, etc. You hope it works out but if it doesn’t oh well. Hell, Obama gambled a half billion dollars of out tax money on Solyndra after he was told it was a waste and lost it and hardly a peep from anyone.

          • You do realize that Presidents (black, white, Demorat, Republitard, Whig, or Bull Moose) do not write policy, spend money, make things legal or illegal, etc., right?

            I’m guessing you are not aware of that, and recommend you revisit your 6th grade civics lessons (assuming you made it that far). 😉

            Don’t get all offended and crazy. That was just a joke. I’m sure you made it that far.

          • Elio Fan

            You are correct if you are saying the Legislative Branch is supposed to have the authority to make the laws and fund the Govmnt cheese factory but you also must be noticing the willful neglect of the current occupant in the white house abusing “executive privledge” and bypassing said authority.

          • Haven’t noticed that in re: budgets/spending, actually (though I’m with you on the unconstitutional wiretaps, drone bombings, etc.). I have noticed lots of people who don’t know what they’re talking about saying things about executive privilege, however (that’s how you spell that, FYI).

          • Elio Fan

            How about not enforcing immigration laws, or just about any laws race related? Oh and while you are correcting my spelling…..from one af your earlier posts:

            “As for pulling for Elio, regardless of what you think of the man, Paul Elio, or the company’s plans/lack of plans, the reality is that thousands of people have put their hopes- and their cash!- behind Elio, already, and they will be the ones who’ll suffer if it doesn’t happen (which seems all to likely, at this point).

            “Too” should be used in your last sentence, not to.

          • LOL! Yes, I missed that extra “o”. 🙂

          • egogg

            Aaaaaaand another Elio post digs up more crazies.

          • That’s who buys tadpole cars, dudebro.

          • egogg

            You may be right. I may be crazy.

          • Just to be clear, I thought of the Aptera as more of an airplane car (like a de-winged Cessna) than a tadpole car. It was slick.

            Also: excellent Billy Joel quote.

          • egogg

            Aptera was, to my mind, the future of cars. Carbon fiber, electric, aero, as safe or safer than a 4-wheeled sedan–it had everything but governement loan backing in the middle of a recession.

            Elio falls into the same category with the Myers NMG for me: neat, goofy looking toys. And I think they will have the same fate.

          • J_JamesM

            I don’t see how Obama’s DREAM-related activities relate to funding budgetary items or not. It’s really quite irrelevant.

          • Elio Fan

            Try to keep up….I was talking about Obama’s abuse of executive privilege and not enforcing immigration laws already on the books which as we all know breaks the budgets of public schools, public hospitals, prisons, courts, etc.

          • J_JamesM

            They are all executive actions, though. None of which have any bearing on the matter at hand.

            Try to keep up.

          • Elio Fan

            P.S. I noticed your first descriptor of president is race, how typical of someone who views thing first through the racist lense. Very telling.

          • Fair point! I’d assumed, from your apparent lack of insight into how government works, that you were racist and ignorant. I apologize if I’ve incorrectly mis-labeled you as “racist”.

          • Alan3008

            I know why you are so negative. You are obviously a Libtard.

          • I’m actually a conservative. I only seem like a liberal to you because I know what I’m talking about.

          • pearl87

            Your comment belies your real political leanings. Too bad you weren’t bright enough to realize that when you wrote it. Dishonesty is another ProgLib trait.

          • pearl87

            Perhaps you have been asleep for the past 6 years but THIS “president” does all of the things you named and more. Just because its unconstitutional, doesn’t mean it’s not done. EO’s are a tyrant’s dream and no one seems to realize (or care) that, insofar as they legislate, they are illegal.

            I’m not so sure you made it to 6th grade, but maybe you were in Obama’s class at Harvard, lol.

  • Mo

    Why does Elio Motors offer stock, I am sure many people would invest. He only needs to sell 40,000 to probably break even on the plant, design, parts, and workers. IF he gets off the ground I am sure he can sell 2-4 million a year if he could handle the production/opens more plants, worldwide I am sure it could sell 12 million a year +.

    • The first one is easy: he doesn’t sell stock because then he’d have to answer to shareholders who might not be cool with him drawing a salary and his spending from expense account when he hasn’t built anything or hired anyone.

      As for the rest: Why do you think he only needs to sell 40,000 to break even? How do you figure he’d sell 2-4 million a YEAR!? That’s madness! What are you basing that on? You know what- don’t tell me.

      • idiot corrector

        How do you think they are keeping the price down.. Duh. Stock markets only suck away the companies profits. Why do you think so many get extremely rich off stock market. Where do you think this money is coming from. Anyone with the slightest common knowledge would see this in the dark in a cave.

    • Alan3008

      I think you mean, “why does Elio NOT offer stock?”
      I think they may need to do that, but totally understand why Mr. Elio would not want to. He doesn’t have time and doesn’t want to deal with the SEC.

  • Mo


  • Elio Fan

    Don’t we all wish Obama would have pushed back his failed Obamacare website rollout until it was ready? Sounds like Elio is a whole lot smarter.

    • Are you seriously equating a push to grant access to affordable healthcare with selling people some idiot tadpole car? Sounds like you could use the ACA’s mental health benefits.

      • Alan3008

        Yes, it would have been nice. Just wait, ACA is going to make the VA’s deaths of 40 people due to needless delays look tiny. I guarantee it. Government couldn’t run a hotdog stand efficiently and at a profit.

        • 1. Gov’ts shouldn’t run at a profit. That’s idiotic.
          2. Cell phones, roads, NASA (and, before that, NACA), satellites/GPS, computers, the internet, etc., etc., ad nauseam were all gov’t projects. You think those don’t work?


          • Alan3008

            No, but the government should have a balanced budget! Who is going to pay for all this f**king debt? YOU? What an idiot. You are just another idiotic Libtard that thinks the government should continue to spend way more than it takes in, giving more and more handouts so the Democrats can stay in power. The next handout will be amnesty to 30+ million illegal aliens. We all know that didn’t work out well last time, did it?
            The government needs to work at ways to reduce the federal debt. It’s not right to be $17,000,000,000,000 in debt! The government cannot even run a post office at break-even, or run the VA properly. They need to do that first, and eliminate the debt, before taking over healthcare. Our healthcare system is better off independent of government. Just look at Canada as an example of a nightmare of a healthcare system.

          • Buzzy

            Such name-calling when the conservatives are equally guilty of ripping-off we, the people. $17 trillion debt is outrageous, but have you not read the GAO audit of the Fed, from a couple of years back? $16 trillion of that debt was incurred when U.S. taxpayers underwrote our failed banking system. The phrase “conflict of interest” was used several times in the GAO’s report. That was 2008, under a Republican president, remember? Yes, to any non-psychopathic human, causing enough debt to enslave our great-grandchildren is unthinkable, but, if you belong to the class of people who benefit from foisting that debt on others, it doesn’t hurt your grand-kids at all. I am not an Obama supporter, but have you noticed that there are no “Ruck Fomney” bumperstickers? That’s because those libtards are not as small-minded or as self-righteous as are those who ridicule them, those who are deep in a talk-radio engendered trance. How can anyone listen to the incessant harangue and remain sane? It’s time to get a better cup of coffee, wake up and look around. Both the Republicrats and the Demublicans have sold us out, my friend. Though you might misunderstand me, thinking I’m a libtard, I honestly am hoping that the Elio trike comes to be. Otherwise, I’ve bought a $100 T-shirt. Both you and I have made bigger mistakes, if that becomes the case.

          • Alan3008

            “$16 trillion of that debt was incurred when U.S. taxpayers underwrote our failed banking system.”

            I don’t think it was that much. Trillions are spent on special interests that have nothing to do with the banking system.
            And it happened under a Republican President? Well, let me clue you in. Our banking collapse, which then led to the near-collapse of our auto industry, and millions of foreclosed homes, was due to the Community Reinvestment act (CRA), which was started by Jimmy Carter (uhh, a Democrat) and revised for the worse by Bill Clinton (uhh, ANOTHER Democrat). Lending standards were lowered and they loaned money for a house to anyone with a pulse. The CRA also allowed banks to repackage loans and sell them on the secondary market… Bad move and another mistake.
            President Bush, who inherited this mess, tried to change things because of the threat to the banking system, but was blocked, yep, BY DEMOCRATS in Congress.
            I do agree with you that Democrats and Republicans are both responsible for the mess we are in, but it was the Democrats that were primarily responsible for this mess, and the continuation of it by our “Liar in Chief,” Obama, with many failed bailouts and lousy investments in companies like Solyndra have made it worse.

          • Buzzy

            We’ve had liars-in-chief since, at least, the early, to mid, 60’s. Read that GAO audit of the Fed and look at the numbers for yourself. Don’t say to me “I don’t think…”. I am a strong proponent of entrepreneurial activity, self-responsibility and self-reliance. Eisenhauer warned us of the military-industrial complex. That’s who is calling the shots, right now, and all of it is closely connected to the banking-insurance cartel, just as it was when Alexander Hamilton was married into the Rothschild family. Who gets the profit when the taxpayers pay $1 million for a patriot missile? How much does it cost in fuel and equipment to send an army to Afghanistan? Who benefits and who pays? Ask those invested in the Carlyle Group; they can tell you. It’s not “this” isolated fact or “that” isolated fact. It is an ever-creeping erosion of our liberties and resources through a system that is directed by a small cadre of policy-makers. The auto industry is in trouble because they became GMAC and Ford Financial. They got caught in the same scam as did Italy, Spain and Greece. They were fleeced by Goldman-Sachs, having invested in derivatives that were guaranteed as being low risk, by AIG. They were the ones who directed the creation of laws and regulations (or deregulation) that allowed the financial fiasco of the mortgage market and the subsequent collapse. I used to listen to Rush, until he lied to me. Bill O’reilly lied to me, too. We the people need to become better informed by non-corporately owned information sources. If a “News” corporation is owned by a parent corporation that makes and sells military weaponry and equipment, it’s a good idea to go to war. And, please, don’t bring up 9/11: history may, one day, straighten out the real story. There are plenty of reasonable questions on that one posed by thousands of engineers and pilots who know a whole lot more than I do about the construction or the flight industry than I do. Let’s not let our country get flushed down the toilet, based on 8-second sound-byte politics or “yeah, but” arguments. They are fruitless and counterproductive. Solyndra is a small-potatoes rip-off, a political football to kick around, to make us think there is a nickel’s worth of difference between two sides of this phony dialectic that’s been imposed on us. Sure, Carter was president when the CRA was passed, but maybe you don’t know that Goldman Sachs (and others) directed that to become so and were well-pleased when it did. It became the largest theft of global resources and the largest wealth-transfer ever known to man. It’s not just the Republicans and the Democrats; it’s also the Supreme Court and its “justices”. They all benefit from supporting the global octopus.

          • Alan3008

            Okay then. $16 trillion of that debt was NOT incurred when U.S. taxpayers underwrote our failed banking system.
            That’s ridiculous. Where did you get that number?
            Those derivatives were all allowed by the CRA. Banks took advantage of it and it failed.

            I didn’t bring up 9/11. Where in the hell did you see that?

            Solyndra was just one of them. Someone pocketed millions of dollars at taxpayer expense. There are many more. And it seems the GM bailout didn’t work out too well. Look at all the recalls. Instead of shifting more money into the design and build of quality cars, it’s still in the inflated salaries of its union employees.

            Oh, and Obama takes “Liar in Chief” to a whole new, higher level than has ever been seen.

          • Buzzy

            Have you read the July 2011 report from the GAO regarding the Fed? Please, do. You will see for yourself the phrase “conflict of interest” and the figure $16 trillion that was stolen from us. The whole issue and the financial fiasco is convoluted on purpose. “9/11” is not something that you brought up. That is true. But, it is inherently connected to our reasons to be led into a war, to invest trillions of dollars into a venture that benefits only a few people. I only brought it up to contrast with the Solyndra incident that did, indeed, cost taxpayers dearly but was a pittance, compared with the rest of the abysmal picture regarding politics and economics. . As I said before: I am no Obama supporter. There is SO much misunderstanding of the state we’re in because of mis- and disinformation about it. “Yeah, but” is not an argument, and it is rampant, along with the name-calling and the self-righteousness. I’m truly sorry if I presumed too much, but you did call one to whom you responded an “idiot”, in regard to paying off the debt. It would behoove all citizens to be more informed about the subject than the information we get from our news sources. We capitulated and agreed to bail-out the financial industry. We’re all the idiots. Some will say that they believe in “free-market capitalism”. If that’s what we think we have, we should not have bailed them out. Let the failed stay failed. It’s their own fault. If we agree to bail them out, they should bail us out, but, “NO!” You and I eat their debt. Really, read the 2011 GAO report. Also, do a search for “Louis T. McFadden Congressional Record Federal Reserve”. And, while you’re reading, for yourself, what he, the former chairman of the House Banking and Currency Committee (one in the center of it and in the know) said, consider all of what you understand, politically and economically. It may revolutionize your thinking on these subjects, as it did mine. Self-study on these things is imperative. We all have the right to express our opinions, but informed opinions are more valuable than are resorting to name-calling and thinking more of ourselves than we ought.

          • Alan3008

            Thanks, I will check that out. I agree with most of what you said, but when you implied that it was Bush’s fault, you lost some credibility. He tried to fix some things, but his hands were tied. He could not get anything through the Democrat-controlled congress. After that, it just got worse and bailouts seemed to be needed. Let’s face it, Republicans are not totally innocent in all of this, but it was the Democrats, with their wild, foolish bills, and totally out-of control spending, that are mostly to blame.

      • pearl87

        Sounds like I was drawn into a discussion initiated by a ProgLib whose hatred for the Elio is based on contempt for free enterprise. And then you hang around to excoriate anyone who disagrees with you, by calling THEM “stupid”. So sad that socialist’s lives consist of doing nothing and trying to keep others from accomplishing anything as well. Hasta nunca. You are just not worth another moment of my life.

        • Says the guy who left 3 comments. LOL

    • J_JamesM

      You are trying very hard to derail this, aren’t you? The focus should be on Elio Motor’s failings, not some contrived and unrelated grievance.

  • J_JamesM

    Ugh. I really wish that idealistic people who deign to throw obscene sums of money at memes like Elio Motors or Cargolifter would actually find something to support that isn’t vaporware for once. Like the Aeroscraft. Or the Chevy Volt.

    Not every grand, oversold concept or idea can have an erstwhile billionaire patiently waiting for reality to stop kicking their dreams in the nads long enough for it to become something useful.

  • Jack

    They announced third quarter 2015 because if they said any later they would lose their lease. There is a time limit on their lease agreement as well as a bunch of other benchmarks they must meet or *poof*, no more manufacturing facility. They also won’t answer as to who holds the refundable money in escrow and what happens to that money in the event Elio declares bankruptcy. I think the concept is great but their shady marketing and vague details make me question the integrity of the company.

    • I didn’t know they wouldn’t answer- I thought they just wouldn’t answer me. LOL!

  • Philip Royall

    Apple began in a garage…

  • Boozer

    Malcolm Bricklin had a son?

  • Gary Constantine

    Its not going to happen. The delays in funding is the tell tale sign investors with the 150M aren’t going “all-in” like the misfits who like to place ignorant bets, as some kind of popularity vote. People deserve what they get when they throw money out the window.

  • DeanMartin50

    I do know that there could be a lot of crow eating if Elio pulls this off. Possible removal of oneself and look for amother line of work.

  • DeanMartin50

  • Pingback: $6800, 80MPG, made in Shreveport - Page 33 - Smart Car Forums()

  • Thomas J.Stratford

    Elio is a scam of the first order. Good luck ever seeing that deposit..suckers!

  • milliamp

    Now he is saying that in order to build the car they cannot use anyone elses motor and they must custom build their own engine to meet the exact weight and specs of the car. That comes with huge additional R&D costs and assuming you can best all the other companies at building a more efficient motor before even finishing a design or a prototype reeks of total nonsense.

    What probably really happened is when someone pressed to actually measure the mileage of their garage built concept car they were forced to admit it’s nowhere near the claimed 84 MPG that even motorcycles don’t achieve.Their claims of being able to hit that in a car with air conditioning, 5 star crash test rating, ABS etc. are

    Now they are offering 8 (yes 8) tiers of vehicle reservations to milk what they can get out of the people still naive enough to believe their claims. They have 4 “refundable” (assuming they don’t file bankruptcy at the end of this) and 4 non-refundable tiers. They are offering a 50% bonus to people now too so $1,000 reservation = $1,500 off the cost of the car. Unless their investors were telling them to go pound salt why would they be offering to essentially take a 1 year loan with a 50% interest rate?

    If being willing to pay 50% interest on a loan doesn’t reek of absolute desperation I’m not sure what does. They seem fully aware they have no intention of actually having to deliver payment (ie, an actual vehicle) on the loan is why.

    They are still telling people they will deliver cars in 2015 but they have yet to get the funding they say they need to design the motor they say they need let alone actually start going through the process to actually hire workers and tool up a factory to build them.

    The company was started 6 years ago now and they have already moved their claimed production date by 3 or 4 years. The way things I looking it’s highly unlikely they will deliver working cars in 2015 yet they just haven’t bothered to break the news to all the people who gave them the last $55 million yet.

    I could go on about why I think many of their claims are bogus (like producing a car with all the bells and whistles of complex systems for half the cost of a motorcycle) but at this point anyone who still feels Elio still has credibility is lying to themselves.

    They announced they will start to hire workers at the factory in June so they will have to announce the inevitable delay before that date. If you don’t believe me they are a scam come back to me in June and we’ll talk then.

  • Jorge

    I will hold off on investin in an ELIO. But I do want one and you could buy 2 and probaly sell one for the cost and have a free ELio.

  • francisco garay

    It’s this or an e-bike, and I like not being exposed to the elements and blasting tunes while I commute, so… This is exciting to me.