More Delays for Elio Motors, and More Lies?

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The last time we checked in on Elio Motors, the company was reporting more than $21 million in “expressed interest” from suspect investors and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal was shaking hands with Gulf Port Spinning Company, who would be taking up some of the factory space left unfilled by the fledgling manufacturer. Although, can you really call Elio Motors a manufacturer if they don’t actually manufacture anything?

That’s a question we’ll have a few more months to ask ourselves, it seems, because company CEO Paul Elio says his latest prediction for a production start date has been pushed from mid-2016 (which, last I checked, would have been June/July) to the end of 2016.

“All along, we have said, funding will determine the production date, now that funding is getting clear we have a much better feel on our production date,” says Elio, who had yet to collect on any of the “expressed interest” (read: crowd-funded) money at the time of this writing.

Assuming that $25 million does come in, Elio says he’ll use the money will be used to build 25 additional three-wheeled prototypes. For those of you keeping score, that translates to roughly $1 million dollars per Elio Trikke, and not the $6800 oft-quoted price that the increasingly suspect Elio PR people and the idiot auto writers over at the Motely Fool keep repeating, who totally fell for Paul Elio’s professional charm during an interview w/ Paul this past August at Motley Fool headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia.

I’ve talked to Paul Elio several times, and he’s a charming guy– but even he has to admit that spending $25 million on 25 prototypes might seem a bit strange to people who’ve watched the rise and fall of automotive startups past. Especially when the major components are either done, or (supposedly) based on “existing technology”.

If those 25 prototypes get built- and that’s still an “if”- they’ll get built in Detroit, and not in Shreveport. If that sounds familiar, it’s because Paul Elio also claimed that he was building 25 prototypes back in September of 2013 in this Red River Radio interview.

“It’s a teeter-totter, and right now,” Elio told Red River, back in 2013. “It’s engineering-centric and most of the action is in Detroit because that’s where the supply base is. As we get closer to 2014, it will become manufacturing-centric and the center of gravity will be in Caddo Parish.”

That’s right, kiddos. He really did say, “As we get closer to 2014,” and this is all starting to sound a bit repetitive, at best, aren’t they?

Even those who believe in Paul Elio and his little trike thing are starting to get sick of the delays. ArkLaTex resident Elio Motors Reservation Holder Mark Muenzmaier, for one, didn’t take the news of the latest Elio production delay well. “It’s not just disappointing to myself, as someone who wants the vehicle,” he told Louisiana’s KSLA. “But it’s disappointing to the folks that have been waiting on jobs in the ArkLaTex are going to keep being pushed back over and over again.”

As of now, the only people employed at the former GM assembly plant that have been tasked with selling surplus equipment to pay down the company’s debt. The company’s SEC filing reveals the company has outstanding secured loans totaling $30.6 million dollars, of which only $1.6 million is classified as short-term.

 

Sources: KSLA News, Red River Radio, the Motley Fool, et al. Check the links before flaming.

 

Jo Borrás

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.