Sick of Waiting: Elio Motors Trike “Owners” Start Filing Lawsuits


Elio Motors Being Sued for Refund

With bad financial news coming out of Elio Motors’ official SEC filings and even more announced delays in production of the Elio three-wheeler, many reservation-holders are getting sick of waiting. They’re so sick of waiting, in fact, that at least one Elio “owner” has decided to take the company to court in a bid to get his money back.

Reddit user jimmybob479 announced on the popular message board that he had filed a lawsuit against Elio Motors in his home state. His original post read, “I looked up their registered agent in my state, filed a small claims lawsuite with my local justice of the peace and paid to have a constable serve the papers to their registered agent. Anyone else done this yet?”

That last question opened up the floor to other commenters, who said things like, “They (Elio Motors) deserve all the hellfire that will soon be directed against them. They still don’t appear to have an actual prototype on the roads now seven years after the debut of P2 in February 2010, which is when they began making these fantastic claims,” and “They might not even have enough money in the bank to pay you back your deposit.”

As of this writing, there was no word posted to the /eliomotors subreddit regarding the results of the lawsuit (which, in all likelihood, won’t get its day in court for some time), but I’ll keep checking in on it to if when other Elio “owners” get the message and start to clamor for their money back, as well. Good luck with that, Jimmy!


Source: Reddit.

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.

  • Ken Charbonneau

    Just a dick head who didn’t understand what he was doing. Probably a granola eating tree huger.

    • knowhereman

      That really isn’t a nice thing to say about Paul Elio.

      • Give Ken a break. I think he’s French or something. He may not understand that, in the US, you can’t sell people a thing and just kep the money without giving them the thing. “Charbonneau”? Seems French. Maybe Canadian.

        • Paulyd

          The deposit wasn’t for the car it was for a spot in line for an opportunity to buy a car if he should have read the fine print Elio owes him nothing. It was a risk he took

          • knowhereman

            Yeah, yeah, fine print, blah, blah, heard it all before. Never mind all the LARGE PRINT lies Elio Motors has told over the years. Ask Elio Motors why they went back in their facebook timeline and deleted a lot of their statements from the past. Anyway, let the courts sort it out.

          • Paulyd

            Or be smart and not put non-refundable money down on something that you don’t know if it’s a sure thing

          • knowhereman

            No argument with you there. People who put money into this thing were dumb.

          • Paulyd

            Well, I wouldn’t say they were dumb. some can afford the risk. I would love to own the vehicle if produced I just don’t make enough to not be cautious with my money

          • knowhereman

            Depends on when they put in their money and how much they knew at the time.

          • Robert Dean

            Initially ELIO hyped the mom and apple pie patriotism of the first new American vehicle in whatever number of years. Be a part of the rebirth of American invention and the spirit of enterprise. It was also presented with slick ads showing the ELIO being driven in four season settings. CGI?
            There was absolutely no way a customer putting down a grand would know how remote the possibility was that the ELIO would go into production. They showed off the vehicle around the country, never disclosing that is was not just years away from production but rather likely to never reach production based on the lack of capital or the fact that money raised had gone into bizarre tangents. Initial customers were aware that the car had an engine made by a third party and never suspected ELIO would dumb boatloads of money into a new engine. The lack of disclosure seems problematic for ELIO, not the dummies are some people are calling them. There was enough fabricated evidence of a finished, sellable product to believe they would one day own their vehicle.

          • Mike Barnett

            It’s called a risk. I took the risk because I believe in the potential of the vehicle, and because I could afford it. Not being dumb, I can also read, and I took advantage of that handy skill to read the agreement in it’s entirety. It has no guarantee in it at all, anywhere, and anybody who thinks otherwise needs to take some remedial comprehension courses posthaste.

          • knowhereman

            I do think it was dumb to invest in Elio Motors. Their ridiculous business plan was posted by Jo way back when for all to see. Jo even caught a lot of heat for pointing out how obviously flawed it was. People accused him of making the numbers up, that is how ridiculous the plan was. Unfortunately it indeed was/is Elio’s business plan. I read the agreement and agree, Elio Motors covered their a$$es well. I think you would have had a better chance of winning the lottery. It is your money, do as you wish.
            I also understand why jimmybob feels he has a case against Elio, their target dates were flat out impossible to meet even if they had funding. Elio misled people and lied. Fraud comes in many forms and I think there is enough of a case hear to be heard by a judge. If you disagree, so be it.
            If Elio ever finds enough private investment or the DOE is dumb enough to give them a loan you might get an Elio. Still, Elio will go bankrupt anyway because they will be lucky to sell 20K of these things a year. No way in heck they will sell enough to stay in business.

          • They all think I’m a shill for the oil companies/a tree hugging hippie, though. Nothing I say is true. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. LOL

          • soon2beam

            There has never been -any- official production start-up date announced.

          • fred smith the deplorable

            You need to watch and listen to Paul’s speech at Caddo Parish when the deal was first signed. He promised production within 18 months and world-wide deliveries by the end of the decade. He has also made definitive production date claims on a number of other occasions.

          • soon2beam

            Kindly please demonstrate to us ANY official Elio Motors Press Release – or any communication to a Reservation holder – which -states- any specific production start-up date.

          • Robert Dean

            What were the years given that now number five?

          • fred smith the deplorable

            That seems to be the key. Does a “fine print / back page” disclaimer allow a company to knowingly make false representations and claims which induce people to give them money? It would seem fraudulent to me – taking money under false pretenses at best. From the beginning, Paul Elio and Elio Motors Inc knew that (contrary to their claims) they had not completed the research, development, and engineering of the vehicle, and that they could not do so within the stated time frames. They knew that they had never produced a vehicle that met the advertised specifications. They knew that they did not have the funds, nor a reasonable expectation to acquire the funds necessary to produce the advertised vehicle within the claimed time frames.

            I’m not a lawyer, but believe that both civil and criminal charges could and should be brought against Paul Elio and Elio Motors Inc.

          • knowhereman

            I agree with you, I think a decent lawyer could make a case for fraud.
            These people are too dumb or stubborn to admit they’ve been had. Some will never realize it and continue to make excuses for Elio long after it is over.

          • Robert Dean

            The class actions suggest otherwise. ELIO is making excuses not the customers who are suing.

          • Robert Dean

            ELIO has satisfied the requirements for larceny by deception according to the laws of most states.

          • soon2beam

            There is no (so-called) “fine print” in the Reservation Agreement issued by Elio Motors when buyers place deposits.
            It’s all perfectly clear and simple (at least for people who -can- read) – a very straight forward document – three pages in plain text.
            There is no promise of any kind that the vehicle will ever be produced or delivered … only a RESERVATION to complete an order (if / when the production start-up effort is successful).

          • Jim Johnston

            We’re nearly 65,000 reservations made to date. So much for you K.

          • knowhereman

            65,000 after 4 years of taking reservations, a majority of which were prior to anyone knowing anything about Elio Motors. Now the word is out and they are average 20-25 reservations a day. So much for you Jim.
            Good luck.

          • Robert Dean

            They will sell no production vehicles. They can’t even pay for the first test vehicles. They were allegedly going to fleet customers that were to be built by Technosports or Roush or whomever. They have one and the other 99 can’t be build. There is NO money. The growing allegations of scams and customers joining class actions is becoming more public. It could be harder to squeeze deposits out once the company’s DOA status and past history is common knowledge.
            There is no factory production facility. ELIO claimed they bought a plant. The lied about that also. People who trusted ELIO may have had good intentions to be part of something that sound good, but it won’t turn out well.

          • fred smith the deplorable

            I, too, read the agreement. That is part of why I did not send them any money. The other part was based on research into the company. Too many lies, too much incompetence, too many bad decisions. Since the SEC filings were released, there has been sufficient information to warn rational investors far away from Elio Motors. Elio continues to make unsubstantiated claims that induce the unwary into sending them money. They even have told people that the SEC filings don’t really mean what they say. That could get them in a lot of trouble. If the SEC is paying attention.

          • soon2beam

            There is NO “fine print” in the Elio Motors Reservation Agreement.
            But it could help for people to actually READ what they have freely agreed to.

          • Robert Dean

            Did they agree to pay the balance on a vehicle would be produced after vehicle production started in any of the five years stated thus far? Yeah. Pretty much.

          • Robert Dean

            There is no fine print that nullifies larceny by deceit, or are you under impression fine print supersedes the law.
            A thousand dollar deposit for an opportunity to buy a vehicle that does not exist and couldn’t possibly exist is not an opportunity to get in line.
            On what planet would ELIO not be required disclose that it was impossible to build a vehicle by the first. second, third, forth or fifth year that is 2018.
            They are still not disclosing their fiscal nightmare. Why would they disclose what they worked so hard to conceal – before the money was secured from as many suckers as possible.
            They string people along with progress updates that would be laughable if not so insulting, not to mention irrelevant in terms of getting closer to production.
            If they needed hundreds of millions before making the first vehicle, with no means to secure it, your contention that ELIO owes him nothing is a matter for a jury.
            If you understand the requirements for larceny by deception, look it up if you don’t, ELIO meets all of them. So much for owning his nothing.

        • Jim Johnston

          Elio Motors is under no obligation to ever supply anyone with a vehicle. All reservation holders only purchased a spot in the production line and if it never goes into production… Then you number never comes up. BTW, I’m #8480

          • Rick Danger

            “Elio Motors is under no obligation to ever supply anyone with a vehicle.”

            This will be the only “goal” Elio will meet.
            Your number is up, alright.

          • Robert Dean

            Then good luck to ELIO. They are about to get hammered in court. ELIO has no money but the judgements will make sure they stop selling non refundable reservations that could not ever result in a return on investment. The marketing now is much different from the early highly deceptive marketing. The first reservation holders have a case.

    • Randy Farnsworth

      “Probably a granola eating tree huger”….WTF is a huger?

    • Robert Dean

      Huger than what or whom? Put your teeth back in so you can chew that chew. Stop spitting inside. Have another gallon from the still and get that washing machine, school bus, pile of tires, rotting boat and shotgun shells off the front lawn.

  • Mike Barnett

    If this article is even true, it’s ONE person. Of course, since no supporting documents are presented, I’m pretty sure this is a bald faced lie, either by jimmybob, or the author himself.

    • No supporting documents? Are you referring to the lawsuit? That would be fun to get! I wonder if it’s public record- should be, right?

      • Marcus Cicero

        Probably not even filed… RedNits are so believable

  • danwat1234

    Aptera fizzled. I hope Elio will not too.

  • Wayne Forkum

    If he can’t read, does he deserve a non refundable deposit back. NOT.

    • If he can’t grammar, can he step on snek? 😀

  • soon2beam

    Joe Bore Ass strikes again.
    Hey, almost any new product development could be prone to failure, yet Joey seems to really have it in for Elio Motors – despite their ongoing developmental progress and “nose to the grindstone” commitment to producing the vehicle, no matter what else has befallen them along the way.
    HEY, it took Ford Motors over five years to develop the new Mustang – and that’s including bringing to bear Ford’s BILLIONS of dollars in resources.
    Hey, Joe, KISS my … butt.

    • Rick

      Hey Elio, shut up.

    • knowhereman

      Such hostility.
      All Jo did was report what is happening. He also gave Elio credit for their accomplishments over the years too but you only see the negative.
      Seems like you have buyer’s remorse and are just lashing out.

      • soon2beam

        Actually my response to Joe’s presentation is that what he is writing is inaccurate, and he’s been quite consistent with that unfortunate approach – since it voids his credibility.

        • whaaat

          and what about Elio’s credibility…..?

      • soon2beam

        As an Elio enthusiast who READ my Reservation Agreement, I am quite sufficiently -aware- that by agreement I am entitled to a ‘spot in line’ production number – IF – the development reaches production stage – and it would be idiotic of me to be suing anyone else for my own choice to invest in a product – of my own free will.
        Although I’m disappointed by their setbacks, I understand the difference between Elio Motors’ promotional sales pitch presentation and on the actual progress so far and the financial needs yet to be fulfilled (unlike Mr. Bore Ass).
        I also follow up quite regularly on the preproduction news – and fund raising – that are ongoing and I’m pretty satisfied with the progress thus far. It takes -major- corporations a long time to bring off start-up products. Elio Motors is doing this – from scratch.

        So how many product development start-ups are YOU operating, mister “…know…” ?

        • fred smith the deplorable

          Since you read the reservation agreement, WHY did you sign up? What motivated you? There is NOTHING in that reservation agreement that would prompt a rational person to send in money. Your motivation, I’m pretty sure, was the same motivation as all the other poor saps: It was all the claims, promises, and outright falsehoods that Elio was telling everybody. Production in 12-18 months. R&D completed. 5-star safety. 84mpg. Made in America. 1500 jobs. etc.

          That is why the lawsuit, and why it will have a decent chance of success. Elio told lies to get you to send in the money, while crossing their fingers behind their back via the reservation agreement.

          Lots of people spend $100-1000 per year on fantasy entertainment, and most people wouldn’t sue to get their entertainment dollars returned. It still doesn’t excuse Elio’s deliberate and knowing deception.

      • soon2beam

        I have no “remorse” regarding my choice to participate in the Elio autocycle development. I understood and accepted the risk of purchasing a Reservation.

  • Billy Pate

    I known this was gonna happen, taking a page out of Preston Tucker’s play in 1948, where his demise was from the Big 3 that they could never catch up with the Tucker technology & bought him down, now to present day with the funny little radical car… the “elio” going around selling cars that doesn’t exist to folks around the country show off prototypes across the land, and then the problems crawl out pushing back release dates2010, 2011, 2012 2013….ect & now present day 2017 & nothing I guess the old saying is true “History repetes itself”….give your reguards to Preston Tucker!

    • knowhereman

      The Dale would be a better comparison than Preston Tucker. I am pretty sure Tucker lost everything, Paul will walk away with millions in his pocket like Carmichael did.
      This project was dead from the get-go.

    • Adolph

      What ongoing false drivel. “The big three” (remember them?) didn’t bring Tucker down. He did it himself. His Achilles heel was the poor choice of an engine.He sourced surplus military helicopter engines, converted the air cooled engines to liquid cooled. Two unworkable aspirations. In addition, the drive train depended on an assembly from Cord / Duesenberg. None of these were available in a continuing supply.

      • Billy Pate

        Well you got to admit, this story is the same he went around the country (on tour) to campaign for dealerships & contributions & sales of his “Tucker 48” (the revolutionary car of the future, today) before his plant was taken away by the Government., but you got to admit he built 50 cars as the Goverment required but to no avail, now to the present, Elo Motors gathering up deposits & monies as the same as Preston Tucker did many decades ago & how long ago & how may times have you cancel your car’s introduction year after year & finally it cought up with you & it seems like it will never come to life.

        Sent via the Samsung GALAXY S®4, an AT&T 4G LTE smartphone

        ——– Original message ——–

  • Marcel

    To be fair, it seems a bit of a long wait for a three wheeler and people make fun of Model 3 reservation holders…

  • James Rowland

    Turns out Elio Motors was just a trial run for the Kickstarter model. 😉

  • Steve Harris

    Unfortunately most critics are free from the shackles of responsibility and intense scrutiny that they bestow on those they target. I admire the audacity it took to get this project this far. In 7 years they’ve come closer to a well defined and honorable goal then any other major player in the auto industry has ( despite having more than ample resources to do so.) I invested and continue to support the effort with eyes wide open. Elio is not the first and will not be the last company to face the brink of extinction on the path to its goal. I for one want to be a part of them creating history and let the critics enjoy the benefit from the hard work and persistence of those willing to fight for a noble cause.

    • knowhereman

      I would have a lot more respect for Elio Motors if they hadn’t pocketed millions from this fiasco. Imagine how much further they would be if they had truly sacrificed and put those millions towards the goal instead of their pockets.
      They scammed Caddo Parish and they scammed their investors. Stu Lichter has more than enough money to get this off the ground years ago. You should be asking yourself why he isn’t willing to invest in Elio Motors.

  • Raphael Sturm

    I gutes its hard to let go, but some commenters here should start excepting that they won’t get their promised three wheeler.

    It has been in production for what, 7 years now? And they have postponed their 100 unit pre production fleet from the end of 2016 to end of 2017. When should this vehicle be production ready? The release date just moves one year further, year by year. First it was 2014, now its 2018…

  • Seth Page

    Does anyone who is talking shit know how much money is involved in getting a modern manufacturing and distribution network ran by 1500 employees up and going? Up until last year they kept things very small and expenses relatively low. Now, as they are making more progress than they have since finishing the new engine they developed, they are making vehicles for final testing. And before you go balking at 123 million in debt, consider that they have over 400 million in nearly guaranteed sales. This honestly boils down to our government not giving them the loan they need due to super PACs of oil executives. If you want someone to blame, go after the people who have the most money to lose.

    • knowhereman

      According to Elio it takes $300-400 million to get their business up and going. The phrase “relatively low” is relative in itself. Paul went from roofing to making $250K, relatively that is a big increase in pay. So how is that progress on the test vehicles going? According to the timeline in their SEC filing it should have only taken them a couple months to complete it. They are broke and only made a few E vehicles, where are the rest? Why were they saying it would only take a couple months and now say the ABS ETC programming has such a long lead time? Hmmm. Take a look at where they have spent the $123 million, really, look where it went (and who’s pocket it went into, hint: Paul, Stu). They have been telling people most of the engineering was completed way back in 2010, another big lie. The DOE doesn’t seem too confident in the $400 million in “guaranteed” sales, they basically said non-binding reservations didn’t mean much to them. Hmmm. Speaking of the loan, in your head it MUST be some big conspiracy. Apparently it never occurred to you that it might be as simple as what they have said. They are focusing the program on component manufacturers (lower risk) rather than vehicle manufactures (higher risk) now which is based on recommendations from the Government Accountability Board (did you bother to read their report?), remember the big DOE press release. After the fallout from Solyndra do you really think they want to risk their political necks on an unproven market of a potentially very niche vehicle with a fantasy business plan.

    • knowhereman

      I don’t think you really understand the requirements to qualify for the ATVM loan. If you did you would understand Elio Motors doesn’t even come close to qualifying and you wouldn’t be spewing your nonsense conspiracy theories. They don’t just back loans for anybody who comes along, there is this thing called due diligence, the DOE is doing the right thing. Elio Motors can’t even make it past the preliminary stages of due diligence. Instead of filling your brain with conspiracies try doing some research and fill it with knowledge.
      all the info you need is found on the DOE website.
      I haven’t even touched on the subject of a major component to Elio’s self stated financial viability, CAFE credits, which they don’t even qualify for.

    • HenryTheNinth

      Paul Elio is talking a lot of shit and he’s banking on the fact that there are enough Americans with excess money who have no idea how much it costs to get a car company off the ground and to actually produce a car.

      The only real question is, when will the indictments start coming down…

      • soon2beam

        Indictments for what (alleged) crimes?

        • knowhereman

          False advertising, fraud, lies, the list goes on and on. Apparently you are satisfied with your spot in line for a make believe vehicle, good for you. How is your Elio Motors stock doing?

  • Tyr

    One born every minute. You were dumb enough to give this guy your money weren’t you?

  • Mary

    The funny thing about this story is that anyone would have bought one of these OBVIOUSLY STUPID cars. This is one of those situations where the best defense might be, “your honor, how can we be blamed that anyone believed us? This is the dumbest idea in the history of automobiles; we thought that was clear.”

  • Chris

    Henry Ford was down to less than $300 – when the tide turned in his favor (due to a favorable legislation ruling). Every entrepreneur and inventor takes risk. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. If you never take the chance – you will never have the opportunity to succeed. I’m not sure if the Elio is dead yet or not – but I will never fault creative minds from exploring new innovations, technologies and ideas.

  • TK Bap

    I paid my $1000 deposit in 2014. I think I should file a small claims suit against them too.

  • Schizy

    The final curtain. Paul Elio is done. He’s milked the naive of millions, made no promises to build, sell or deliver anything. (Read the disclaimers on the Elio Motors website) He has, in fact, accurately predicted the final outcome in the disclaimer.”No ‘cars’, no continuing business, no ‘place in line’, I need even more money”

  • Robert Dean

    Elio is toast. Articles to read.


    Sick of Waiting: Elio Motors Trike “Owners” Start Filing Lawsuits


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

    Gov’t Officials to Tour Elio Motors Factory Looking for Answers

    Up Close and Personal With the Elio Motors Prototype


    Fishy Investors, New Tenants Bad News for Elio Motors

    Elio Production Delayed Again, This Time Until “Mid 2016”

    Elio Motors Shows Off its Engine, For Realsies


    Elio Motors Has a Town Hall Meeting, I Go To It

    Elio Motors Q+A w/ Paul Elio … the A Part

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


    Paul Elio Gets Taxpayers to Buy Him a GM Plant in Shreveport

    The Elio Motors Saga: If it Looks Like a Dale and Quacks Like a Dale …

    Financials Show that Elio Motors is Really, Definitely, Not Gonna Happen

    Op-Ed: Elio Motors Thinks it Can Sell This 3-wheeler. It Can’t.

  • Carl

    I like to get my refund back , Plus the $3000.00 that I brought in Stock , Yes I was dumb to fall for this shit.