Cycles elio-interview_main

Published on June 6th, 2014 | by Jo Borrás

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Elio Motors Finally Responds … What's Next? You Decide!

Elio Motors - interview

As regular readers of Gas 2 might already know, we’ve invested a lot of virtual ink covering Elio Motors over the years. Despite our early enthusiasm, however, I think it’s fair to say that most of our my articles about Elio have been fairly critical of the company – despite that (or, as has been suggested by a few commenters, because of that), Elio corporate hasn’t exactly been answering my emails. Until today, that is.

Earlier today, I received an email from Chip Stempeck, the Vice President Customer Experience at Elio Motors. I let the fact that Elio hasn’t built any cars (and, therefor, doesn’t have any customers to experience anything one way or the other) slide without a snarky comment, and asked for a direct Q&A interview to set the record straight.

 

My Email with Elio

 

Now, while that offer may surprise those of you who think that I am some sort of shill for the big 3 or the oil companies (I’ve, hilariously, been called both by commenters on older Elio posts), but the fact is that the people who’ll suffer most if Elio doesn’t happen are the people who’ve pinned their hopes and dreams for new jobs and a revitalized economy on its success. And, for their sake, I hope Elio Motors comes through like a roaring lion.

SO, here we are.

The offer’s extended, and I have a few questions I’d, personally, like to get some answers to … but what about you guys? What kind of questions would you like me to ask Chip (assuming he/Elio takes me up on my offer)? I’ll leave you “my questions” below, and invite you to put yours into the comments section. I’ll choose my favorites, email them over to Elio, and we’ll take it from there.

Have fun!

 

My Questions For Elio Motors


Q1.   The trike has been promoted heavily as having a $6800 MSRP, and being made available with air conditioning, power windows, stereo, two seats, 3 airbags, stability control, and ABS (I’ll assume cruise control is in there, as well). Is all that going to be standard at the $6800 price, or will some of those features be optional?

Q2.   The latest news out of Shreveport seems to indicate that Elio Motors still needs to raise between $145 and $200 million. Is that accurate and, if so, how do you plan to raise the rest of the money you need?

Q3.   Assuming you’re able to raise the startup money you need by the end of this year, will you then be on track to start hiring in Shreveport?

Q4.   Assuming you’re not able to raise the startup money, what happens to the deposits you’ve collected so far? What systems and safeguards are in place to ensure that your depositors get their money back?

Q5.   Why go to the trouble of building your own engine? Why not make a deal with Honda or Suzuki to get some Kei car engines?

Q6.   Speaking of engines, in the financials that the Caddo Parish made public last year, you showed $150 per vehicle for “Warranty and Liability”. Since $150 won’t get you very far at most repair shops (even PepBoys), how do you see that $150 covering a trike for – let’s say 3 year/36K miles?

Q7.   In that same document, you say that you anticipate selling 250,000 units annually through just 120 stores with 5 employees each. That’s 35 units received, prepped, inspected, sold, closed, detailed, and delivered per month, per employee, per dealership. How did you come up with that number, and why do you think it’s realistic?

Q8.   Assuming all of that stuff gets sorted out and Elio becomes a huge success. How do you see the Elio line expanding down the road? In other words: Where do you go from there, as a brand?

 

Original content from Gas 2.



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About the Author

I've been involved in motorsports and tuning since 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the Important Media network. You can find me on Twitter, Skype (jo.borras) or Google+.



  • Bi-Polar Bear

    They seem like fair questions to me. Can’t wait to read the answers!

    • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

      You should have one or two good’uns stored up there.

    • Victor Mason

      Elio treats the deposits as paid in capital, in violation of all banking laws. It will be the SEC that shuts them down.

      If this were a pink sheet penny stock I’d say the pump and dump is over and Elio and Chip will need to decide whose going to be the husband and who will be the wife

  • groman

    Seriously $6800.00? You cannot buy a loaded motorcycle such as a Harley Ultra Classic, BMW k1600, Victory Cross Country or Can Am Spyder new for less than twice that amount. Elio is a small outfit so there’s no economy of scale. They promise a modern HVAC system, ABS, Stability control and they want to build there own engine. Sorry but I’m calling shenanigans. They may eventually produce a vehicle with all of the promised features but I’ll be surprised if it’s less than $20K out the door.

    • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

      You can’t even buy a basic for that money, these days. Honda’s CBR 650 is almost $2000 more! http://powersports.honda.com/2014/cbr650f.aspx

      That said, I think $10K OTD would be realistic for something like this. That’s not much less than a stripped out Nissan Versa or Kia Rio.

      • J_JamesM

        The question is, do the car makers make money on the stripped down versions?

        • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

          I don’t think they do. Not much, anyway.

  • Bystander

    Interesting reads. I’ve been casually watching this whole Elio propaganda unfold and am split between, “Cheering for visionaries who successfully launch their ideas for the benefit of many” and, “Stealing people’s money crushing their hopes of owning an 84 mpg vehicle for under $7k”

    I want to be a supporter but just can’t until we get more answers.

    • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

      Couldn’t agree more. You should come up with some questions!

    • J_JamesM

      Is it stealing if they lie about what is feasible to get people to willingly part with their money?

      • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

        Yes. If that happens at any company it’s fraud.

  • Josef Roesler

    Q1 Q4 have already been answered on their website. All that stuff is standard equipment and people who made “all in” deposits are not refundable. The other deposits are refundable.

    Why would anyone think you are an oil shill when you publicly ridicule anyone who uses gasoline? I really don’t blame them for not taking you seriously when everything you write about them is erroneous or unsubstantiated.

    #612 – All In

    • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

      What have I written that’s erroneous or unsubstantiated? Or- wait. I get it. You’re one of those guys who thinks that new information which goes against his previously held beliefs *MUST* be a liar, right?

      Have fun with that whole thing. I bet it’s gonna serve you well. ;)

      • Josef Roesler

        I’ve already documented your misrepresentations on your previous articles. You know this already.

        I don’t have a problem with green solutions when they are not boondoggles like Solyndra. Where’s your alternate fuel solution for airplanes?

        • J_JamesM

          That’s kind of beside the point, isn’t it? Besides, you’re clearly baiting him with the airplane question- most people here know that no viable alternative exists just yet, or makes much of a difference.

          • Josef Roesler

            Nothing I said was beside the point, I was responding to his comments. I’m baiting him? Did you read his asinine accusation? The guy’s been hating on this company for months now and keeps putting out “articles” with half truths and complete misrepresentations because he hates gasoline and everything it stands for. So my airplane comment was apropos. It didn’t have to be an airplane, but that’s the best example of how silly gas haters are. There is no alternate fuel that is feasible for any mode of transportation. Electric might be if you didn’t need to take a second mortgage to by an electric car. Or go very far…

          • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

            You weren’t baiting me. You were avoiding my question. Possibly because you’re talking (typing?) out of your rear hole, and you know it. :P

          • Josef Roesler

            You only put a question mark on one sentence and I addressed it. Hey, you wrote wrong shit and I corrected you. Grow up.

          • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

            Jeez. You really need mental help therapy, you know? You haven’t answered a single question about what I got wrong, and now you’re using profanity? I knew you were a f***wit, but at least try to be a classy f***wit, you know?

          • Josef Roesler

            Yeah, that’s class. What you got wrong was addressed in the article you got it wrong in. You know this already and now instead of merely misrepresenting, you are outright lying. Why do you keep repeating the same tired line? Took you a little longer than usual to start the name calling this time.

          • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

            I, like you, have no idea what you’re talking about.

          • Josef Roesler

            I guess you gas hatred has clouded your mind. Try reading your stale articles’ comments between us.

          • J_JamesM

            Let me get this straight, you expressed incredulity at the prospect that “I’m baiting him?”, but that sentiment is followed shortly by:

            “So my airplane comment was apropos. It didn’t have to be an airplane, but that’s the best example of how silly gas haters are.”

            Don’t you see that’s exactly what I was getting at?

          • Josef Roesler

            “You’re one of those guys who thinks that new information which goes against his previously held beliefs *MUST* be a liar, right?”

            Clearly, that was the bait.

        • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

          Ooh, mentioning Solyndra already, is he? Please, tell us more about Benghazi while you have the floor.

          LOL!

          • Josef Roesler

            So Solyndra was not a boondoggle? Man, you’ve got Alynsky’s rule #5 down.

  • How much is enough

    A ? – How many of the persons involved with Elio motors (the corporate board) have invested their own money and how much? A “total amount” for all the personnel would suffice.
    -I am a HUGE fan of people envisioning, developing, and creating newer more efficient technologies. After all, America’s history is replete with such examples. But i am a bit suspicious of the latest “marketing trend” of asking consumers who will not share in any of the profits to ‘help’ underwrite someone else’s enterprises. In essence, Elio is asking me to give them money so that if successful, they can become fantastically rich. Again, it is great that individuals have renovating ideas but to ask the ‘public’ to pay for their experiment and then not share in the benefit seems underhanded to me and a bit cheap.

    • Josef Roesler

      Unless you live in Shreveport, tbey haven’t asked you for anything.

      • Kirk Johansen

        Josef they are asking everyone for money. Yes, even you. They are called ‘reservations’. At the time I am writing this 19101 people have responded to the call for dollars.

        • Josef Roesler

          Yeah, that’s called the free market, you don’t have to participate if you don’t want to. I was responding to “ask the ‘public’ to pay for their experiment” which is NOT what they are doing. There is no federal money involved.

          #612 $1000 All In

          • Kirk Johansen

            public was put in quotes because it was referencing consumers . No where did he mention , or imply, federal money.

            Here is what he was referring to: ” asking consumers who will not share in any of the profits to ‘help’ underwrite someone else’s enterprises”

            You are apparently one of those consumers. Although you haven’t gotten a car yet so I don’t know if I would call Elio funders ‘consumers’. Maybe donors would be a better word.

          • Josef Roesler

            Only taxpayers fit that description. Consumers are never expected to share in a company’s profits. Profits has nothing at all to do with consumers’ buying things. How do you know what that guy’s intentions were when he put public in quotes?

          • Kirk Johansen

            I read what he wrote. It’s called reading comprehension.

            Where did he say ‘taxpayers’?

            Consumers are never going to share in the profits- that was his point.
            At this point you must notice that you have not received a car- that effectively means you are underwriting the enterprise as a consumer.

          • Josef Roesler

            Comprehension would mean realizing that public is taxpayers. Consumers are never going to share in the profits of any business. Only taxpayers are made to pay for something they do not want. Consumers voluntarily pay for something, if they don’t want it, it doesn’t cost them anything. So if he was, in fact, referring to consumers, his point was irrelevant.

            The small amount of money we have contributed to Elio is not underwriting the company. It’s a deposit. In fact, we get a further 50% of our deposit off the price of the car when it’s purchased.

            So regardless of who the poster thinks the “public” is that’s supporting the business, it’s no different than consumers buying products at Walmart. Nobody gets a portion of Walmart’s profits either. Why don’t you complain about that?

          • Kirk Johansen

            Wow, you can’t see how this is different from buying something from Walmart?
            The difference is Walmart actually has a product that you actually take home with you.
            I don’t think even YOU would be happy if you went to Walmart , plopped down a thousand bucks and they pushed you out the door with just a T shirt and a shout of
            “You’re all in!!!”
            I want to thank you for this conversation. I no longer feel sorry for people who are sending money to Elio.

          • Josef Roesler

            This conversation wasn’t about speculating on the delivery. Of course there is a difference in having to wait. Assuming the product is ultimately delivered, there is absolutely no difference since we knew upon payment there would be a long wait. The fact remains, the “public” is not footing the bill for Elio’s growth and buying a product from a company does not gain you access to their profits.

            It’s not your place to feel sorry for us. We know what we are doing and if you don’t have $1000 to gamble with, you shouldn’t be playing the game.

          • Kirk Johansen

            Since you are only worried about public money then how come you haven’t mentioned the millions of dollars that Caddo Parrish has spent to buy the former GM plant for Elio? Some on the board fought against it because they saw that Elio would never be built and Caddo Parrish would get stuck with the bill. Why does a local government have to buy things for a private business? If Paul can’t sell enough thousand dollar T shirts to buy the factory then sure don’t want PUBLIC money spent on it.

            Or, how about the fact that Elio is putting belly up to the public trough for more money? According to a recent news paper article: “Elio Motors also plans to apply for a $200 million through the government’s Advanced Transportation Vehicle Manufacturing Program.”

            So, is this another publicly funded boondoggle in the making? Does this use of the word public sound better to you now?

            Its not surprising that Elio has decided they have saturated the thousand dollar T shirt market and now needs to find a source of revenue with deeper pockets and more gullibility- the public.

          • Josef Roesler

            I DID mention it. It was the first thing you replied to me about. It was what this entire discussion was about. And you like telling people they have comprehension problems…

            “Unless you live in Shreveport, they haven’t asked you for anything.” <—- See that right there? That's me saying Shreveport public money. Not federal taxpayers.

            Local governments buy things for a private business all the time to attract the busniess to the locality. Where have you been?

            Until Elio gets money from Advanced Transportation Vehicle Manufacturing Program, my statement still stands. If that happens, that is what the money is there for, isn't it? Or are only the big three bailout companies allowed to have free taxpayer money? If it's not Obama's idea, you're not for it, huh?

          • Kirk Johansen

            Josef says– ” I was responding to “ask the ‘public’ to pay for their experiment” is NOT what they are doing.

            Then Josef says –“That’s me saying Shreveport public money”

            Then Josef says– ” Until Elio gets money from Advanced Transportation Vehicle Manufacturing Program, my statement still stands. If that happens, that is what the money is there for, isn’t it?”

            So, your principle on NO public money is firm … unless it happens- then “that is what the money is there for. Free taxpayer money”

            Your sense of entitlement and desire for big government to take care of your thousand dollar T shirt investment would be funny – if wasn’t just sad.

            You went from using ‘no public money’ as your platform into “that is what the money is there for, isn’t it?”

            This is what is known as a lack of integrity.

          • Josef Roesler

            Way to twist and make things up. I never said using public money was good. I never said big government should pay for anything. I don’t believe the federal government should be doing anything but protecting the country from foreign invaders, as it was intended. You made all that up.

            I pointed out who was paying for what, I never advocated for any of it. I pointed out that the government uses taxpayer money to bail out billion dollar companies and if they do so, there should be no distinction between them and a startup transportation company as the money is intended.

            Your jealousy of people who can afford to risk a little pocket cash on a speculation has clouded your mind. I’m sorry you can’t afford a $1000 t-shirt. And a bumper sticker.

          • Kirk Johansen

            “If that happens, that is what the money is there for, isn’t it? Or are only the big three bailout companies allowed to have free taxpayer money? ”

            “I pointed out who was paying for what, I never advocated for any of it.”

            Your contradiction is incredible “thats what the (free) money is there for” and “I never advocated for any of it.

            I can afford a T shirt – I’ll save my thousand for something smart. AND a bumper sticker. LOL I love how you had to add that to show what a wise investment that thousand dollars is. Cling to that idea.

          • Josef Roesler

            There is no contradiction. That IS what the money is for, isn’t it? Pointing that out doesn’t make me an advocate for it. It merely points out the hypocrisy of those who believe the goverment is right to bail out billionaires and invest in green companies with personal ties.

            The bumper sticker was added since you’ve said $1000 t-shirt at least 5 times now. You’re really hung up on that. I never said it was wise at all. Gambling is never wise.

          • Kirk Johansen

            Ok, we can end on that note of agreement if you like.

          • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

            Until they GET the money, or until they ASK for it (which they’re doing now)? Seems like you don’t really grasp the whole “time tense” thing.

          • Josef Roesler

            I never said they wouldn’t ask for it. But again, why are you OK with big government funding failing billionaires, but not for using federal programs as they were intended, to help grown new business?

          • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

            Elio is asking for $200 million in Federal funds, by the way.

          • Josef Roesler

            You’re pretty committed to hating on Elio to follow up on this two weeks later. If they do ask for it, and get it, then yes, taxpayers will be footing the bill. So the question is, did the OP complain when the federal government gave billions to the big failing billionaire automakers when they let their unions destroy their companies?

    • CanadianSeajay

      It is always wise to be prudent when it comes to investing your hard-earned dollars, but if you are going to judge by the narrow criterion of how much money the principals have invested, you’re are misleading yourself because sweat-equity and intellectual property carry a huge value.
      What is clear is the fact that they do have a vehicle on the road which, if built using strictly local labour, with the relatively higher pay-rates, their vehicle, as presented to the public, could easily have cost close to $500K to build (molds and tooling don’t come cheap).
      The only problem I can see is that the power-train (I heard it was a Suzuki engine) is not what the production vehicles will have, and therefore, there is a strong possibility of not meeting the stringent EPA (and CARB, if they want to sell in California) emission standards.

    • Snowie0wl

      It’s not stock but people will hopefully be getting a 50% return on their reservation investments when they pick up their Elio. If that’s worth the risk is up to them.

  • Bieber before hos

    Here’s a question for them. Why do they need a factory to start production. They’ve only got 15000 reservations, why can’t they handle those first then expand bigger as income flows. Tesla was able to build without a factory elio can to.

    • anthony

      could it be Paul is looking for a big buy out from the big three or oil co. shelf the elio cash and run… by by three wheeler gas sipper.

      • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

        I don’t follow you. Why would a car company or oil company buy out Elio?

        • Chris

          The idea is standard commercial conspiracy theory– Who Killed the Electric Car style… Invest enough to build up enough IP to prevent anybody else from building a gas sipper, then shelve the project and sue anybody else who tries to carry it forward.

          • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

            The trouble with that type conspiracy theory is that it’s nonsense. There’s no radical tech in this thing- by Elio’s own admission.

      • Kirk Johansen

        It appears there is a much more sinister plot afoot. Elio is trying to be the next Solyndra- the one that Josef hates so much.

        http://www.ktbs.com/story/25697775/elio-motors-delays-production-almost-lost-shreveports-gm-plant

        • Fred

          The politics of money is what is slowing/blocking Elio getting to production. I feel (1) govt (red tape) and (2) lawyers (litigation) are at the root of why companies fail to start up.
          There is plenty of money around; most payrolls are on borrowed money. Because of the above road blocks investors are hesitant to invest. I would like to pose that thought to Paul.

    • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

      Awesome question. Why not start smaller- especially when $55 mil seems like plenty to start building simple, composite-bodied trikes?

      • toneman

        Hey Jo, where U goin’ with… calling the elio a trike? It doesn’t have the configuration of a tricycle. Please call it a three-wheeler or an autocycle. It would help lend more credibility to your comments. I’m wondering how long the 3 other forums, that I know of, can keep on discussing a “product” that only has about 4 working/drivable prototypes. I’ve always subscribed to the “start small” senario. afn

        • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

          “Small starter” here, as well. As for the trike, wasn’t it called the Trikke when it first debuted in 2010?

          • toneman

            Yes, U are correct. Back in 2008, it was called the Trikke. Now, everyone calls it the Elio, though there has been lots of discussions about giving it another name. If U google “trikke” now, someone else is using the name for a “fitness scooter. I like “Elio”. Kinda reminds me of “Ford” :-)
            Actually, if Paul Elio was building these prototypes with his own two hands, like Jesse James would do, I think the Elio would be a LOT closer to production.

          • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

            2008!? Wow … I first saw it in 2010. Do you have any links from 2008-2009?

            Also, I agree re: he needs to start fabbin’ stuff up.

        • TrikeGuy

          In the biking world, Trikes have 3 wheels, deltas have two wheels aft one forward, tadpoles have two wheels front one wheel aft. The tadpole arrangement has very high stability while deltas are pretty unstable. If it’s ever built the Elio could be a very good handling trike.

  • John D

    Q: What market research did you do to convince you that you could sell so many three wheeled vehicles, and how many do you realistically expect to sell at $10k or $15k?

    Q: Has this vehicle actually been fully designed and tested and specified? Or are the prototypes seen thus far merely paper mâché concepts?

    Q: What is Paul Elio’s annual salary and any other compensation?

    • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

      Ooh … I like Q3. It speaks to the motivation to keep pushing as long as there’s money in the bank.

  • Kirk Johansen

    If the vehicle can be sold for $6800 and is 80% of the shelf then why can’t don’t they have a prototype? Surely with several million dollars at hand already they could buy the 20% part of the car that needs to be made just for that car.
    I’d like to see a parts list of this 80%. It seems to me like only 20% of the car is off the shelf.

    • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

      They do have a prototype.

      • Kirk Johansen

        They do not have a prototype. They have what is known as a mule.
        It lacks critical mechanical components like- the engine and the transmission. What they have is mostly a Geo Metro. The engine and transmission are from a Metro. Since the concept of the car is centered around economy and mpg the central components are lacking. That is why they are selling ‘projected’ mpg instead of tested mpg. They are selling guesses rather than data.
        A prototype tests and demonstrates the central feature of a concept. The Elio mule has avoided the central feature of their concept- the drive train and the resulting mpg.

        • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

          Fair enough. Maybe a good question would be “When do you expect to have a prototype ready?”

  • jswap

    I’ve got to believe the decision to design their own engine is adding at least $20M to the company’s startup costs. I wish they’d use an off the shelf engine, which would increase the chance this company actually delivers a product.

    • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

      I can’t imagine it’s that much, PGO has a 500cc ATV engine that didn’t cost them anywhere near that. Same with LML and their new 4T engine.

  • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

    Jo, I’m headed down to the South Shore Mall in Braintree, MA this morning; where they are showing their prototype. I plan on asking about the engine development (and whether this means they also have to develop their own transmissions?). It will be good to see the vehicle in person, and sit in it, etc.

    They are there through tomorrow (Sunday the 8th) during Mall hours (10am-9pm). And the tour will be in other places.

    • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

      What did you find, Neil? Do they have a trans? Is it a CVT? How much of a budget have they set aside for getting the engine CARB certified?

      • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

        Okay, this is my “report”.

        The engine, transmission – the full drivetrain are being designed and built by IAV (who are responsible for the Bugatti Veyron engine!):

        http://eliomotors.wordpress.com/…/engine-qa-with-iav-2…/

        So, this is essentially what they had said before – they are buying the engine and transmission from a supplier – but now the engine is being specifically designed for their vehicle. They
        will have the first drivetrain soon (within a few months?) and it will
        likely be installed in a P5 (prototype #5) unit. This orange car is a
        P4. The P5 will have ~1.5″ more headroom in the back seat.

        I
        sat in the backseat – it is lacking a bit of headroom (I’m 6′-4″) and
        the seat cushion was very firm, and not angled enough to support my
        legs. I did fit, though. The front has more than enough legroom – I
        would *not* push the seat all the way back, or else I could not reach
        the pedals.

        They
        have nearly 20,000 deposits now. Deposits can be $100, $250, $500, or
        $1,000 – and they can be refundable or non-refundable – your choice. If
        you choose non-refundable, they match 50% of it against your purchase
        price.

        They
        will be doing a direct sales model – a lot like Tesla, with retail
        stores in malls, etc. Service will be handled through Pep Boys: http://www.eliomotors.com/#store (click on Service and Maintenance)

        The
        base model will be a 5-speed manual with a normally aspirated engine,
        stereo, A/C, 3 air bags, etc. and they are ~80% done with pricing the
        parts. They will likely make the target $6,800 price, or it may rise
        $100-150. Automatic transmission will cost more. There will be a turbo
        option.

        One
        person mentioned the Cd was 0.24, and if they didn’t count the under
        slung exhaust (or maybe they did include it?), then that is plausible.
        The main part of the chassis is very good, and only the suspension
        struts and driveshaft and the wheel fairings are less great. I’ll guess
        the outboard front wheels are at least half the overall drag? They
        also mentioned the possibility of side video mirrors.

        Oh, the right side window opens even though there is no door.

        It
        looked lower and better in person. The wedge on the front above the
        grill looks less pronounced than I thought it would, and that is a good
        thing, in my book. The exhaust will exit much farther back. The rear
        suspension is very beefy looking – single sided swing arm is on the
        right side (see pictures).

        There
        were at least 8 people there who had put down deposits. There was a
        lot of buzz and people were almost always positive. The only negative
        comments I heard was about the small storage space; if there is a second
        person in the rear seat.

        http://img.photobucket.com/…/DSC_0011_zps68feeed3.jpg
        http://img.photobucket.com/…/DSC_0013_zps9393dc6a.jpg

        Metro engine:
        http://img.photobucket.com/…/DSC_0016_zps83c89642.jpg

        Rear suspension:
        http://img.photobucket.com/…/DSC_0019_zpsa1996fff.jpg
        http://img.photobucket.com/…/DSC_0021_zps589bb284.jpg

        http://img.photobucket.com/…/DSC_0028_zps4f703901.jpg
        http://img.photobucket.com/…/DSC_0030_zpsdcfba7b8.jpg
        http://img.photobucket.com/…/DSC_0032_zps4f318a8f.jpg

        Inside:
        http://img.photobucket.com/…/DSC_0035_zps1c8bdf30.jpg
        http://img.photobucket.com/…/DSC_0038_zps39a3a985.jpg

        The underslung exhaust:
        http://img.photobucket.com/…/DSC_0041_zpsd358b7a1.jpg

        http://img.photobucket.com/…/DSC_0044_zps87c9da11.jpg

        They
        are looking to possibly deliver cars in about a year and a half.
        Another interesting tidbit is that at least one person working for Elio
        there have bought stock in the company. This is good to hear, as it may
        mean they will work all the harder to build and sell cars.

        • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard
        • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

          Great stuff, Neil – thanks! Can you email those photos over to me? The links don’t seem to work.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            You may use them. The one below of me on the floor was taken by one of the Elio employees, I think.

            I’ll try to fix the photo links.

          • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

            I’ll alert Reddit and 4Chan while the rest of you psychologically prepare for the Elio Tadpole.

            Until then, I’m joborras “at” gas2 “dot org”, if you want to just email the pics.

          • Gary Constantine

            Those are interesting pics, I couldn’t make it down that day, but wish I did, because as a mechanical engineer and industrial designer I could figure out fairly quick if it could even be made for anywhere close to their retail price. What kills me with these “events”, is that they are really an art show, a concept car. Its one thing to look cool, but how does it actually drive? Would the mass market want to drive this contraption 84 miles, that is without going crazy? Sorry to be a cynic, but I can see very few redeeming qualities over this vehicle, and the business model is a disaster in the making, I can only imagine the recalls over at Pep Boys.

        • erichatch

          IAV is a design house, not a production facility. The first block casting has been done by Grainger and Worrall, who produce limited run, prototypes, and the like. They too are not a production facility.

          So it appears Elio are insisting on build-your-own, with the capital expense that goes with it, rather than pay-as-yu-go for an existing engine.

          Frankly, I think this is a terrible decision, and I would love to ask Mr. Elio why in heck he feels compelled to go this route and jeopardize the entire project by doing so.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            Thanks Eric; you know better than I. It is as additional risk, it would seem; but hopefully there was a good reason, and a big benefit if they can complete it.

  • Frank

    I like the whole concept of what Elio Motors is trying to do. An AMERICAN made, high mileage, safe and low cost mode of transportation well suited for commuting. I
    still have lots of questions – several which are addressed here, but I don’t need answers now. Can they do it? I don’t know, but I certainly hope they succeed.

    So instead of beating them up for any perceived shortcomings I’ll spend my time quietly celebrating their successes and when they bring the car to my area of the country I’ll be there to check it out. I think I’ll like it and if I do then, yes I’ll give them $100 to get my name on the waiting list.

    • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

      99% of the media play Elio gets is totally positive, and we’re a small blog. As such, I don’t think we’re in any danger of taking anyone “down” (including Elio). That said, if Elio goes under and people get screwed- I don’t want to have to look in the mirror and feel like they put up their hard earned money because *I* didn’t tell them about the flip side of that big PR blitz, you know?

      So, spend your $100 as you will. I hope Elio comes through for you and I hope their answers to the questions we put to them put everyone at ease. :)

  • Josh

    Jo, as a follow on question, I’d be very interested in Elio Motors’ take on their vehicle as a disruptive technology, and how other motor companies entering their new, hopefully successful, niche will impact them.

    • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

      People have been building 3-wheelers like this in kit form for decades, with more than a few fits and starts at production since the 70s (check out the Dale, which I compared to the Elio Trikke in this article last year: http://gas2.org/2013/08/21/the-elio-motors-saga-if-it-looks-like-a-dale-and-quacks-like-a-dale/). If this technology was truly disruptive, why wasn’t it disruptive the first 3 or 4 times?

      That said, I think it’s a good question. I’d like to hear how Elio plans to stay competitive against, say, a Toyota i-Road or Mercedes Carver or Peraves Ecomobile … ALL of which will come to market quickly if Elio proves to be successful.

  • Chris

    A question about their short to medium term corporate M&A strategy would be interesting… if they can’t raise capital for straight R&D, would they consider a LBO strategy to acquire the technologies they need? Private equity is so flush and fashionable now, pulling in those dollars might be easier. Or would they be open to acquisition by the right entity?

  • Tracey

    This car is ugly, it’s a three wheeler trike with a roof! It’s way too small, the interior space is lacking big time! I agree, Yes, let’s make economy American Made cars, but! ones that can actually compete in today’s market!

  • Gary Constantine

    You need to ask them how fast their burn rate is relative to the funding they currently have. To me, where they are at this point screams they are treading water, and when interviewed on Lars Larson’s radio show, they also have some pricey long lead hard tooling to commit to. With this being pushed out yet again, and likely further, with so many other alternative options, and more coming, how on this good green earth are they going to see the kind of volume demand that is going to offer the investors any kind of ROI? The whole enterprise is nothing short of a joke to me, just the arrogance of building a new engine from scratch says everything, and they think this can then be built in the USA and sell for $6800? Are they planning to pay McDonalds wages or something? If you don’t embarass these guys in the interview I’ll really be disappointed.

  • Gene_Frenkle

    How about designing the car so that it can easily have an option for dual fuel CNG capability. The CNG tank can just hold enough for 50 miles, so if a cheap home filling station becomes available then it would be similar to a Volt but with a CNG tank instead of battery.

  • Charlie Applestock

    • The IAV engine went on the dyno in mid-November. How’s that going?

    • How much is that empty factory being leased for, and how much has been spent leasing it so far?

    • How are you going to build 20-25 “E Series” Elio prototypes for testing with the new engine *and* complete tooling for the Shreveport plant by Q3 2015? One engine took six months to assemble.

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