According to recent reports, Elio Motors – a would-be startup carmaker with plans to bring a Geo Metro-powered enclosed motorcycle to production – has raised nearly $7 million dollars and has completed a deal to lease the old GM Shreveport plant. Elio hopes to hire 1500 local workers and begin production of its tiny three-wheeler as early as 2015 . Which, if you’ve been paying attention, should all sound pretty familiar.
Indeed, when the Caddo parish commissioners voted to use Louisiana’s tax dollars to buy the old Shreveport plant back in September, the decision was made with the understanding that IRG (the company hired by Caddo parish to oversee the property) would give Elio “first priority” to lease the space. Additionally, the Caddo parish agreement with IRG would see that company investing about $7 million into Elio on the condition that the rest of Elio Motors’ stated funding goals (as presented to the Caddo parish) were met. All of which sort of begs the question: did Elio really meet its funding goals, or are they just recycling old news?
I got in touch with Elio Motors back in November, and asked for an interview. Despite answering all my questions related to investing in Elio, I never heard back about that interview.
As of this writing, I’ve reached out to Elio once again to see if this latest news is real, or just more proof that Paul Elio is smarter than the automotive press-as-a-whole. As for all you residents of Shreveport, LA hoping that Elio’s dream comes through and you can land a sweet manufacturing gig in the process, Elio claims that “acquiring this (old GM) plant and all of the equipment in a fully operational state will allow Elio Motors to thrive right off the bat once commercial vehicle production begins in 2015.”
How useful any of that old GM equipment that was used to build Hummers will actually be in the production of Elios’ lightweight three-wheeler, however, remains to be seen – but, for what it’s worth, I’m glad to see that Caddo parish commissioner Matthew Linn, is on the ball. Back in September, Linn described the $7.5 million dollar purchase of the plant as a good deal, saying that “scrap value on the building was, two months ago, eight million forty thousand (dollars), and the price of copper has skyrocketed since then. So, it’s worth more than that now.” Which is good news for Lousiana taxpayers.