Sometimes in life, its best not to take yourself too seriously. Today, we are bombarded by oh so serious pronouncements from start-up after start-up telling us about how they are going to disrupt the car business, re-invent the definition of what a car is, and create a new transportation paradigm. Billions of dollars are on the line. Super sized egos are everywhere.
Elio Motors is different. It isn’t building an electric car. It isn’t investing in car sharing companies or autonomous driving technology. What it is doing is striving to create a personal transportation device that can move people from Point A to Point B quickly, reliably, and as efficiently as possible.
The Elio is the brainchild of Paul Elio. He promised his $6,800 three wheel car that gets 84 miles per gallon would be on sale almost 4 years ago. It is not. In fact, if all goes well (which has never happened for the company), 100 pre-production prototypes will roll out of the Shreveport, Louisiana factory by the end of this year. Full production is slated for 2017.
Some have insisted the Elio is vaporware. That it will never get built. Certainly the delays to this point make Tesla’s well documented production delays look like mere hiccups by comparison. But Paul Elio is not a man who is easily deterred. Nor does the think along conventional lines.
Leading up to the anticipated start of production sometime before St. Swithern’s Day rolls around, he has hired the people at The Onion to devise an advertising campaign for the car. “The Onion has an incredibly loyal audience from a wide spectrum of the American population and we look forward to sharing our message with their fans,” Elio sys. “It’s going to be a long road to November, and by working with The Onion we hope to bring a lighthearted view of an otherwise serious moment in our country’s history, as humor is often the best way to find a common ground between political parties.”
In a press release dated June 14, Paul Elio goes on to say, “Whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, from a Red state or Blue state, we know Elio Motors has a message everyone can get behind. We are building a low-cost, fuel efficient vehicle that will create American jobs, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and help the environment. We see ourselves as “purple” politically – a mix of both parties that everyone can rally behind.”
The marketing campaign was developed by Onion Labs, the creative services division of Onion, Inc. It will include custom social infographics, election inspired video, and targeted media surrounding The Onion’s political content. The campaign is scheduled to run from June to November.
I don’t know about you, but I think we have to respect someone who hires The Onion to do marketing for him. The Elio is sort of the anti-Tesla. Instead of a trophy for wealthy people, it is a car designed for Joe Six Pack, the guy who schlepps back and forth to work every day and needs reliable, affordable transportation.
Is there a place for a car like that in America? Paul Elio certainly hopes so. After watching his latest video, I am now officially rooting for him to succeed.