SEC Filing: Elio Motors Millions in Debt With No Way Out?

 

Elio Motors

Over the past few years, Elio Motors has burned through more than one hundred million dollars ($100,000,000) and produced five three-wheeled prototypes. As of September 30th, the company reported a working capital deficit of more than $25 million and expressed doubts about its ability to continue operating as a going concern. In their own words:

We have experienced recurring net losses from operations, which losses have caused an accumulated deficit of $123,212,432 as of September 30, 2016. In addition, we have a working capital deficit of $25,769,911 as of September 30, 2016. We had a net loss of $34,787,800 and $13,873,656 for the nine months ended September 30, 2016 and 2015, respectively. These factors, among others, raise substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern. If we are unable to continue to obtain financing to meet our working capital requirements, we may have to curtail our business sharply or cease operations altogether. Our continuation as a going concern is dependent upon our ability to generate sufficient cash flow to meet our obligations on a timely basis to retain our current financing, to obtain additional financing, and, ultimately, to attain profitability. Should any of these events not occur, we will be adversely affected and we may have to cease operations.

 

It should be obvious to anyone that a company with a $25 million annual burn rate and zero revenue can’t last forever. And that’s especially true for a company like Elio Motors, which seems to have huge logistical issues it has yet to overcome– to say nothing of substantial R&D issues, staffing issues, tooling issues, etc.- before it can even begin to sell its innovative familiar three-wheeler. Still, selling Elios isn’t the only potential source of revenue for the company.

As Paul Elio himself told me once a few years ago, the trikes themselves aren’t going to be huge money-makers for the company. They’re intended to be profitable, sure- but the real profits will come from selling CAFE credits to the Big 3. I see two problems here. The first is wholly understood by the company, and is outlined in their September SEC filing:

According to the estimated fuel economy of the Elio, it is expected that we could be well positioned to earn a substantial number of credits, from which we could generate extensive future revenues through the sale and transfer of these credits to other auto industry manufacturers. We have received indications from auto industry manufacturers that they would purchase our credits upon confirmation that we can participate in the CAFE program. Currently, we do not qualify for participation in the CAFE program, since the Elio is not an automobile. We have been working with members of Congress and with the former acting head of the NHTSA to permit participation in the program by autocycles.

 

The other big problem potentially facing Elio is going to come from a source that (if my take on the political leanings of the Elio subreddit is accurate) might come as a bit of a surprise to many of Elio Motors’ biggest fans: President Donald J. Trump.

Why would Trump’s election pose an existential threat to Elio Motors? Because Trump’s appointment of Scott Pruitt as the head of the EPA will very likely try to do away with many of today’s CAFE requirements. And, with the dismantling of those CAFE requirements will come a resulting drop in the value of credits. As in, they will be worthless.

Without credits to sell, Elio’s projections start to fall apart. So, then, might Elio Motors- but, for real. That’s potentially bad news for the tens of thousands of people who put down hard-earned money for one. Worse yet for the thousands more hoping that the company will bring much-needed jobs to Louisiana.

Don’t take my word for it, though. Read the company’s SEC filing in its entirety, below, then let us know what you think the company’s odds of survival in the new reality of a Trump presidency might be in the comments section at the bottom of the page.

 

Elio Motors Official SEC Filing | 30SEP2016


Source: United States Securities and Exchange Commission; backed up on Gas 2.





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.
  • zn

    Wait wait wait. Are they saying that their entire business model was built on the idea of selling zero emissions credits to other automakers??? That was their plan!!? Hahaha, goodbye Elio Motors. Ye hardly knew your terrible tri-bike thing.

    • 208s

      Autocycle 😉

    • It wasn’t their entire plan, but my conversations with Paul himself back in 2014 seemed to indicate that every Elio sold would generate “x” number of CAFE credits, which would then be sold to the Big 3 so they could keep making big cars and trucks. It seemed like solid thinking … until, you know, Trump happened.

      • Jim Smith

        one can only hope Trump gets rid of the credits entirely. End the subsidies. I only see sour grapes from a failed company, along with a blogger with sour grapes that CrookedHillary lost.

        • CAFE standards and credits for them are the very opposite of subsidies.

          • Jim Smith

            credits = subsidy

          • Agreed. It’s just a subsidy for EVs and hybrids designed to be approved by makers of gas-guzzlers.

          • Are you a troll or really that simple? If you truly lack the ability to search “CAFE standard credit trading” I will do it for you and explain it in small words.

          • James Rowland

            Strictly speaking, subsidy would be giving them money. CAFE credits aren’t money.

            This is a quota system that measures the proportion of complying vehicles sold. Manufacturers earn credits – these are tokens, not money – for each vehicle sold over their quota.

            The only reason these credits are worth anything is that manufacturers who fail to make their quota can buy them instead of paying a fine.

            It’s a pretty good system, though a carbon tax would make it redundant.

          • I disagree that it’s not a subsidy. As you (rightly) pointed out, these credits are only worth money to manufacturers who fail to make their quota … but the quotas are, at this point, made to be broken, forcing the Big 2.5 to subsidize companies like Elio (assuming they ever build anything) and Tesla.

          • James Rowland

            Well, by definition it isn’t one, unless you’re helping yourself to a change in definition. 🙂

            However, I do agree the status quo has become farcical. Manufacturers shouldn’t be settled into the routine of paying others to do that whole compliance thing for them. I see this more as a failure to keep the rules relevant to the current market, though.

            We should give acclaim where it’s due: CAFE did force almost a doubling of fleet efficiency in passenger cars in less than two decades, to the point where American cars were (and still are) competitive with imports. Going by those results, CAFE was right for its time and is already a success – though it is perhaps in need of retirement.

          • Sam McClyde

            All you dumb bastards are missing the point. We have a government that makes and enforces rules and laws, but if you have money you can ignore the laws. What is the point of giving a manufacture that exceeds fuel efficacy a reward when all they do is sell it at a profit? When those that buy it use it as a way to make products below standards?

          • James Rowland

            Speak for yourself. I’ve long argued that Tesla shouldn’t sell its ZEV credits.

  • Gnällgubben

    Well that was a failure from day one. Nobody wants three-wheelers so why are people still trying to make them? Three-wheelers are novelty vehicles that are only bought by people with more money than sense and even among them the concept isn’t all that attractive.

    • Jim Smith

      But it’s Trumps fault.

      • So is Brad and Angelina’s divorce. Try to keep up. 😉

        • Rick Danger

          Look at you, passing the buck 😀

  • Joe Viocoe

    $24.7 Million in NON-REFUNDABLE deposits… And only $1.2 Million in refundable deposits?

    Lot of suckers out there.

    • If he has 65,000+ deposits at $1000 each, shouldn’t those numbers be higher? Or, like, were some deposits $100? Or even less?

      • Joe Viocoe

        There are lots of possibilities. $100, $250, $500, or $1000.

        • milliamp

          26 mil / 64k is $400. The average price they published in their startengine regulation A+ flyer was $419 for an average with 94% of them being non-refundable.

  • Jim Smith

    Progressives are already blaming Trump for things and he is not even president. LOL. Reality being, this is a company which is failing due to itself. This is good and healthy in capitalism. Sure it stinks for the investors, but they should have been fully aware of the risks.

    • I’d hardly call myself a progressive- but, regardless, I feel like this is a Scott Pruitt vs. the EPA “as it is” issue more than a Donald issue.

  • James Rowland

    Pity. I was so looking forward to this going head-to-head with the Reliant Robin.

    You know, in rollover tests…

    • Ouch. Too soon.

    • iFight4Liberty

      You’re wrong for the Reliant Robin comparison.

      The Elio design with 2 wheels in the front and 1 wheel in the back may oversteer when compared to a 4 wheeled vehicle, but it will not have a propensity to rollover as the Robin did.

      Neither will a 3 wheeled vehicle that steers by counter steering.

      • 2 wheels in front is not a magic bullet that fixes the propensity of a 3 wheeled car to roll over. We’ve said this again and again- go take a hard corner under braking on a Polaris Slingshot or one of those dreadful Can-Am things and see what I mean. I’ll wait.

        *** NOTE: that was sarcasm. Don’t do that. You’ll die.

        • iFight4Liberty

          There are NO MAGIC BULLETs,
          Just Infinite Diversity of Ideas and Designs,
          …..Meeting the Infinite Marketplace of Needs in,
          ……….The Infinite Marketplace of Applications!

    • fred smith the deplorable

      You do realize that Top Gear totally faked and set up that Robin rollover, right? Even so, the Elio as designed should be stable in normal operating conditions.

      While it is reasonable to have some questions about the stability of the vehicle, the truth is that the real concern should be about the stability of the company.

      • Top Gear is the WWE of automotive journalism. It might be entertaining, we may love it, we may be impressed by the spectacle of it, but it isn’t “real”.

        • Joe Viocoe

          Unfortunately the opinions shaped by these entertainment shows have economic effects on companies and the industry.

          • Nah. If “car guys” really had any sway the CamCords of the world would be long dead.

      • James Rowland

        Yes, they locked the differential to get that effect.

        You do realise that I was making a joke? No, of course you don’t…

  • Rant time.

    I own a business. It’s a machine design and manufacturing factory. a real one, we make real things. Changes in industry had us in lean times this year. My business partner and i chose to forego our salaries and bonuses while we retooled so that we could keep our cash flow solid and avoid layoffs of our loyal employees.

    This is not uncommon or particularly “noble” behaviour. Recruiting and training are expensive. Sometimes doing without income today is the best way to guarantee a company’s future. I wonder how many paydays Mr. Elio has missed. I suspect there are quite regular paydays at that functionally bankrupt company.

    On the elio website and at auto shows they still push constantly for $1000 “deposits” for a vehicle that everyone knows by now will never be made. What are the deposits for? Well, paydays, of course. Perhaps a little more (a LOT more) spent on engineering at the very beginning could have made the elio product viable.

    More likely it would have proven the futility of the project. It is hard to walk away from a dream, but faith does not alter physics. Belief does not alter costs. Positive Thinking does not turn a seemingly clever idea into solid engineering. Being able to draw a part in SolidWorks doesn’t mean… well, anygoddamthing.

    A few years back I walked away from a project. I had 3 years working on it and the guy I took over from had worked it on and off for ten years. There was significant investment of funds as well provided by current operations. the bottom line is that I could make the technology work, it just was not going to be a practical Product. The IDEA was great, groundbreaking, trendsetting. It just wasn’t ever actually going to exist. Glad i did. We quickly stumbled on a different idea and this one could actually be engineered for manufacturability.

    Maybe that’s what Elio should have done. but they couldn’t, could they? They had already made promises of price and performance they could not possibly know and, most importantly, they were already taking the public’s money for these things that never could be. If they quit they would have to give the money back. Can’t give it back if you already spent it on paying yourself.

    • Aw … come on! This site is for entertainment purposes only. Thinking better of things only leads to less entertainment!

  • milliamp

    Now that they are starting to build more prototypes their burn rate is climbing significantly.

    They lost $13,873,656 in the 9 months before September 30 2015
    They lost $34,787,800 in the 9 months before September 30 2016

    They have lost 35 million in the first 3 quarters of this year already. They will probably lose over 45 million total for the year.

    I don’t have any idea how it could cost so much money to make a few prototypes of a $6,800 car

    • fred smith the deplorable

      They’re already paying (or at least accruing) interest at 18% on a substantial amount of their debt.

  • Darren Cruse

    re: “let us know what you think the company’s odds of survival in the new reality of a Trump presidency might be…”

    This article did have me thinking it was time I sold my 100 shares of Elio stock…

    But of course Elio was always a long shot I’m no car expert but I knew that going in. Most all attempts at new car companies have failed. Heck even with all the model S’s around I’m taken aback when I read comments that there’s still a real chance Tesla could go under.

    So regarding Trump and the conservative mindset on these things I’m worried the article is right and the odds are lower than ever.

    The appeal for me of Elio or Tesla is really a gut level appeal – I admire innovators, visionaries, entrepreneurs *trying* to achieve something new and different. Climate change aside, I still would be *hoping* for this project to succeed out of admiration for the engineering and innovative thinking behind the project.

    My fear is that appeal (of science and engineering) is not in the mind of Trump or the people’s he’s appointing so they won’t be motivated for the same reasons I would to try and help Elio.

    Esp. conservatives believe in the free market right, but (last I heard) Elio was depending on getting an ATVM loan to be able to ramp up production and fill the 62000+ orders they’ve gotten for the car (autocycle 🙂 ).

    If under Trump the ATVM load goes out the window, and these CAFE credits go away it does sound bad.

    But trying not to be so negative (and after all this is a “green” web site right):

    Elio has said from the beginning they are making this car in america with the intent of putting people to work at the former Shreveport Louisiana GM plant.

    I *heck* of a lot more people than Trump’s Carrier deal!!

    And certainly the Carrier deal publicity proves Trump is eager to *appear* to be helping to create american jobs and put americans to work.

    This is certainly in Elio’s favor.

    The other thing I’ll say is I kept thinking the fact the Elio isn’t an electric car would be a big negative amongst the types of people who are drawn to being “green” who are drawn to the Teslas and Leafs and Chevy Volt etc.

    But maybe that’s now less of a negative with Trump and his people not even believing in climate change. Clearly they want to be “contrarian” regarding that kind of talk – maybe they’ll *like* the idea of saying “see the Elio shows you can get amazing gas mileage with good old internal combustion!!”

    So that’s another reason that *maybe* (I doubt it but maybe?) things could still work out for Elio somehow under the Trump administration.

    I don’t think it’s likely but I do think it’s possible. Mainly because of the jobs.

    • milliamp

      Even if someone denies climate change there are still good reasons that using less oil matters like ongoing conflicts in the middle east most middle eastern countries get much of their financial power from selling petroleum.

      But with that said if the government were in the businesses of throwing hundreds of millions of dollars at startup companies on the verge of bankruptcy why should they even pick Elio?

      Even if the idea of an aerodynamic trike is a good one Elio as a company is doing terrible job executing on anything despite swimming in an influx of cash to do something they insisted from the beginning would be easy and cheap to do with off the shelf parts. There are times where on paper they were mere months away from production dates before announcing delays and those dates were several years ago now. This is an intentional carrot on a stick tactic and it’s dishonest.

      When Paul was walking around in 2013 shaking people’s hand and taking their money to deliver a product in a few months we know now that wasn’t just optimism, it was an outright lie and he knew it.

      If the government did throw their hat into the ring I’d rather see them back a project like Arcimoto or something instead. They have spent a fraction of what Elio has in development, they do more of it in house, and they are probably just as close or closer to production with an EV as Elio is with a gas version.

      Also instead of the CEO getting rich spending everyone else’s money (Paul) Arcimoto’s CEO made money selling another company and used it to back Arcimoto so he has his own skin in the game. Elio motors is a scam and Arcimoto is a legitimate company or at least one actually trying to be.

      There are lots of other things the money could be used to solve too like charging standards and lack of available faster charging options. Paul Elio is among the last people on the planet that I think should be trusted with hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money. It would be Trumps Solyndra but much much worse.

      Giving $300 million dollars to a con artist would not be something I’d want on my record. If that happens I hope someone finds this comment in 5 years. I tried to warn you.

      • knowhereman

        “When Paul was walking around in 2013 shaking people’s hand and taking
        their money to deliver a product in a few months we know now that wasn’t
        just optimism, it was an outright lie and he knew it.”
        No truer words about Elio Motors have even been said.

      • Darren Cruse

        You may be right that Paul Elio is a con artist I don’t *really* know but I’ll just share my *impression* of him (just from seeing him on youtube videos) is that he comes across like what I thought he said he was – an engineer *first* (not a businessman, not an executive, not a smooth talking salesman, but a rather a somewhat soft spoken *engineer* as many engineers are). My understanding is he said he was an engineer working in the automotive industry who had a dream to create this high mileage car using the three wheeled concept (and yes the design of the Elio has clear similarities to some of the cars from the Automotive X Prize I’m assuming that’s not entirely a coincidence).

        Which doesn’t mean it makes sense to throw money at the guy, but it’s just more charitable to assume their progress on the project is due to it’s complexity and their lack of experience rather than them being “con artists”.

        (I’m reminded of that movie about the “Tucker” when Mr Tucker was accuse of the same thing of being a con artist who never intended to make any cars at all – but that wasn’t true!)

        That aside – I agree with you it sounds like a *lot* of money has been spent and I have trouble understanding why there’s not more to show for it.

        But another part of me thinks – wait a minute we’ve seen all this before and in fairly recent history – with Tesla. And atm it looks like Tesla is succeeding (and apparently financially they too are on the verge of not making it).

        But again: Is Elon Musk a con artist or a visionary? Is Paul Elio?

        If you’re cynical you go with con artist. If you’re optimistic you go with visionary. As I said I want to believe “visionary”.

        (but I’m not saying you don’t make good points and I do have major doubts that Elio’s going to succeed).

        • milliamp

          Elon had a massive portion of his own wealth tied up in Tesla. If he would have run the company into the group on purpose or delayed production 2-3 extra years he would have lost his own wealth in the process.

          Paul on the other hand started with nothing and is now worth hundreds of million even despite failure on top of failure blowing everyone else’s money.

          I don’t understand how anyone can look at that and not see the clear difference. If you guys still think Paul is Elon Musk it’s time to put down the cool-aid.

          Paul is a “businessman”, not an engineer. An engineer would have known their claims were unrealistic from the beginning, a “businessman” (*cough* con artist *cough*) wouldn’t care if they were realistic or not as long as people were sending money they could always just keep delaying production without ever needing to actually deliver on said claims.

          There will always be “one more thing” responsible for delaying production. Production was never the goal because the goal was only ever to get rich paying themselves $25 million a year of other people’s money for R&D and that’s the one and only thing they have been successful at.

        • fred smith the deplorable

          Darren, you seem like a rational sort, so please don’t take any personal offense. As an engineer, Paul Elio knew from the beginning, and each step along the way, when he made engineering claims that were not true. Among the false engineering claims: ABS, Traction control, air bags, fuel injection, HVAC, entertainment, mpg, horsepower, torque. He may have “believed” that the claims would be easy to accomplish, but he knew that they had not been achieved. As a businessman, he would have to have known that the production dates and selling price were not reasonable, because he 1) did not have the money needed, 2) had no promises for the money needed, and 3) the engineer in him told the business man in him that the R&D was not completed (and in many cases, not even started). Because of those simple facts, it is difficult to believe that this whole project is not a con. Quite possibly, the first person conned by Paul Elio was Paul Elio himself, but the repeated marketing claims that he and they knew were unwarranted and/or impossible, lead me to have no confidence in either the competence or the integrity of the company or the principal people involved with it.

    • knowhereman

      Trump is way too smart to put taxpayer money behind Elio Motors. Their business plan is a total joke, 250K annually. Elio Motors is essentially dead in the water, they won’t admit it until they squeeze the last dime they can out of it. Expect to see insider shares popping up on the OTC soon.

      • “Trump is way too smart to put taxpayer money behind Elio Motors.”

        ^ One would hope.

  • fred smith the deplorable

    Jo, you do realize that your name is a hiss and a byword among the Elio faithful, don’t you? They are already calling this article a fake.

    It’s easy to like the idea of the Elio as promoted. Who could be opposed to a safe, economical, inexpensive vehicle that provides thousands of high-paying American jobs? The idea is good, the reality is different.

    You missed the part on page 11 where they admit that they do not have funding to continue beyond December 31, 2016. You left out the part about them spending a huge chunk of the $17M Reg A+ monies on past-due debt and interest, rather than on building the 25 (later 23) prototypes that they told us would be build with the money.

    Both the ATVM money and the CAFE credit money are ephemeral, pie-in-the-sky dreams, just like all the missed production dates. Elio never had a product that was ready to sell, they never qualified for CAFE credits, and they have never come close to meeting the minimum requirements for the ATVM program.

    Elio fanbois hate you for pointing out the obvious, even though you have barely scratched the surface of the disaster known as Elio Motors Inc. Those who are heavily invested in Elio, emotionally and/or financially, get angry at those who inform that they have been suckered, while continuing to praise the very people who suckered them.

    • “They are already calling this article a fake.”

      ^ how could the article be a fake? I just read it on Gas2.org? 😀

      • fred smith the deplorable

        And “Joe Borass, to my personal knowledge and experience, is an unstable,
        bitter, and very very unsavory human being. do nit take him seriously” (by Ekh) … the Elio fanbois take criticism, especially factual criticism, of their hero very, very seriously. Even if they can’t spell. Thanks for posting the source link for the SEC filing, but the general attitude is “don’t bother me with the facts, my mind is already made up”.

        It may not be nice making loonies’ heads explode just before Christmas, but it is fun to watch. 🙂

        • Ha! No idea who Ekh is, but I assume Paul Elio took him for all he was worth. Here’s hoping he gets his money back.

        • Rick Danger

          ‘It may not be nice making loonies’ heads explode just before Christmas, but it is fun to watch. 🙂

          The winning quote of the thread, right here 🙂

    • Rick Danger

      I just moseyed over to the Elio Owners forum and read the thread. You know, it’s one thing to have that kind of enthusiasm back in 2011 or 2012, but when Paul Elio started talking about designing his own engine (thus obliterating any semblance of using “off the shelf” components), it became clear that this thing would never get off the ground.
      Some of those nitwits are still saying they would encourage their friends and relatives to make an All-In reservation!
      Misery sho do love company!
      I have lost all sympathy for them.

      • How can they be Elio Owners if none of them has an Elio? Like, if I send Bugatti a $5 deposit on a Chiron, am I in the Bugatti Chiron owners’ club?

        • Rick Danger

          There you go again, trying to inject logic into the conversation 🙂
          AFAIK, anyone can register there, even the clinically insane.

      • Darren Cruse

        Re the engine, I’m a computer programmer not a car guy so what do I know (I don’t know enough to be skeptical or not), but my understanding is an off the shelf engine was not getting them to the 75+ mpg required to qualify for the ATVM loan.

        (from the very SEC document included above:
        “In order to qualify, auto manufacturers must be able to deliver “light duty vehicles” having 25% greater fuel economy than comparable models produced in 2005 or “ultra-efficient vehicles” that achieve at least 75 miles per gallon.”)

        And I assume the criticism behind saying he designed “his own engine” is because you’re saying it’s obvious the cost of the project would skyrocket.

        That may be true, but in terms of Elio’s *credibility* they didn’t design it themselves, they contracted with IAV that appears to be a respected (German!) engineering firm and they are using the engine in these newest cars they’ve produced.

        It’s said aside from the Elio this is another potential source of revenue now if they find other companies who’d like to purchase this high mpg engine for use in their applications.

        Maybe this does seem silly now with gas prices dirt cheap again, but that’s hind sight it doesn’t seem long ago I was paying $3.50+ a gallon at the pump. And in foreign countries they still pay crazy high gas prices…

        Anyway – once again – if we’re placing bets with a bookie on the success of Elio you guys obviously look the smart ones. The smart money regarding Elio is to be cynical I agree.

        But when you omit details like the above I don’t think you’re doing justice to the people involved. It may fail as a project but that doesn’t mean it’s a scam nor does it mean the people involved are fools.

        Dreamers maybe but not fools.

        • Rick Danger

          In 2009 they were dreamers. In 2011 they were avid fans. By 2015 they were fools (some may argue earlier than that, but I’ll give them an extra year or 2 to be nice).
          It is the end of 2016. There are no more excuses to be made.
          Gasoline engines will be outlawed before the Elio ever gets to market.
          Seriously, you think Paul Elio and Elon Musk are similar??? I’m done. You should go back to the Elio Owners forum. You won’t find any Elio love here.
          I went through all this BS with Venture Vehicles/Persu years ago; by 2009 it was painfully obvious to me that nothing would ever happen with it, but some people stubbornly held on for years after that.
          Reality is a bitch sometimes.

  • iFight4Liberty

    The key word from my comment, propensity, means that the Reliant Robin had a natural tendency to roll over in EVERYDAY maneuvers, which Elio like vehicles will not have.

    That statement does not mean that an Elio cannot roll over,
    it just means it is less likely to than a motorcycle or an auto cycle that fails to use counter steering in a delta configuration. (which the Reliant Robin does)

    BTW, the vehicle in your video did what all cars do and that
    is it flipped after it went sideways at a rate of speed that was too high for it to remain planted with 4 wheels on the ground.

    Are Polaris Slingshot’s and Elio’s more likely to rollover
    than cars? I assume the answer is yes.

    Are Polaris Slingshot’s and Elio’s less likely to rollover
    than Reliant Robins? Absolutely yes!

    The current crop of 3 wheels aren’t for everyone, but, they
    are for some and as long as people realize what the difference is between cars and auto cycle safety,
    consumers should be allowed to make that choice.

    • James Rowland

      The Reliant Robin doesn’t have that propensity under everyday use either, unless you lock the differential for entertainment purposes (like a certain TV show). Much like high CoG four wheeled vehicles, the fun begins when you need an evasive manoeuvre.

      I do agree that vehicle stability isn’t Elio’s weakest point, though that itself is more like damning with faint praise.

  • James Rowland

    Agreed, but beware of comparisons with bikes. The drag area can be surprisingly close to that of a small car, in large part due to the aerodynamics of exposed wheels being terrible. The rider is a big factor too, especially if they do not sit prone.

    Elio’s economy figure probably is achievable with an Aptera 2-style teardrop body and well-enclosed wheels (though perhaps not with the kind of engine you’d get in a $6.8k vehicle.)

    • The leading edges on the Elio are mostly good but the inside of the front wheels and exposed front suspension components are not. the tail section is not so clean. While most motorcycles are far less clean almost all will have a much smaller cross section (displace less air). Nevertheless the bike comparison is simply an illustration of the difficulty achieving that kind of mileage with a gasoline engine. The Zero brand electric motorcycle gets 240 MPGe and the current all electric Nissan Leaf gets 115 MPGe. Do we really think Elio has made a quantum leap in 4-stroke engine thermal efficiency? I am sure they have not.

      • Weren’t they just using 30-year-old Suzuki/Geo tech? I thought that was part of the sales pitch? LOL

        • Yes but then they “designed their own.” I think it’s just a modified/redesigned head and probably an ECU. I haven’t been hands-on with the engine though.

      • James Rowland

        Well yes, Elio are obviously nowhere near the Aptera 2 in aerodynamics. There’s no way they could get TJI or some other efficiency-leading ICE tech at that price point either.

        It’s the price and the (inept) team doing this that make it impossible, not the task itself.

        To put some numbers on drag area, CdA (that is, Cd times frontal area) for bikes is typically in the 0.3-0.4m^2 range.

        For comparison, the Aptera 2 claimed 0.19m^2, which matches the lowest bike figure I could find (Honda RS125, prone rider, 0.193m^2). The GM EV1 was 0.367, the Honda Insight 0.474, and the (rather large) Tesla Model S is 0.576.

        There actually are bikes with a larger CdA than the Tesla Model S, e.g. the Yamaha Venture (0.75m^2).

        • Great info. Can you point me toward your source for the motorcycle data?

  • Wow! Great info. Thanks!

  • Sam McClyde

    Scamming the public by manipulating laws and regulations only works if you don’t tell anybody.

  • Jim Lund

    I thought this was going to be a cool product that filled a niche in the market. Sadly, anybody with any business background knows that it would have been funded if it had a path to profit. I think this is just and ego trip for Elio.

  • Barry Ervin

    I’ve been saying for many years now that Elio is a scam, ever since I first heard about it and realized that almost all of the advertising claims were pure fantasy. First off, there is absolutely no sound engineering reason for any vehicle to have 3 wheels. Every 3 wheeled vehicle ever built has 3 wheels to avoid safety standards that apply to cars. Even 3 wheelers that manage to handle acceptably would handle better with 4 wheels. There’s no way this vehicle could incorporate all the features and equipment it’s claimed to include and sell for anywhere close to $6800 (or $7300 or even $10,000). The 84 mpg claim is highly unlikely even with the IVA designed engine which was physically non-existent at the time and for all practical purposes still is. Service and warranty repairs to be done by Pep Boys? LOL! As a retired auto technician (40 years), I wouldn’t trust Pep Boys to fix my lawn mower. I think the best illustration of Elio’s irrational advertising propaganda is their statement that it’s “half the width of a regular car”. Are they measuring it without taking the front wheels into account? Because I think the front wheels are fairly indispensable to actually operation of the car, and with them attached the Elio is at least as wide as the average sub-compact car. Do these people assume that prospective buyers have no common sense at all, and will just suck up any nonsense they are told? Apparently so. I won’t even get into the financial reality, or lack there of; that’s not my area of expertise.

  • Chris Bevil

    This is too bad,I was hoping it’d be the next Beetle. 🙁
    I really wanted one

  • jpthsd .

    there have been 65K+ people deposited $1000-$1500 for their future vehicle, this is one of the great scams compare to Bernie Madoff’s !

    Good luck – I will wait for Tesla 3 model, maybe $40K fully loaded and get white sticker (in California) for HOV access for life!