Elio Motors Predicts More Delays for 3 Wheeler

Paul Elio, Elio Motors

Despite having raised some $55 million, collecting more than 15,000 deposits, and seemingly securing the old GM assembly plant in Shreveport, LA, Paul Elio told the Shreveport Times production of his low-cost 3 wheeler — set to enter series production by March 2015 — will be delayed due to a funding delay from 2013.

This delay is the latest in a series of delays for Elio Motors, which had originally hoped to have three-wheelers built in Pontiac, Michigan in the hands of customers and on the road by 2012.

Even if all of that $55 million is still around, Elio is well short of his $200 million “starting” budget, and hopes that a $7.5 million cash injection from Stuart Lichter (an industrial developer hired by the plant’s owners to oversee development of the property (and who was appointed to Elio’s board as part of that deal) will lead to a successful next round of fundraising.

“Starting a new vehicle company is not cheap,” said Elio. “We have a tremendous amount of momentum and it’s going very well for us,” he continued. It’s hard to say, however, how much of that is PR-speak in the face of what is (optimistically) a $145 million chasm standing between where Elio is at and where Elio needs to be.

Lichter, for his part, explained that his efforts to find tenants for the Shreveport plant were suspended late last year in order to allow state officials time to negotiate a potential deal with a company interested in the plant. After that deal did not pan out, Elio’s lease became active (though Lichter has resumed actively searching for potential tenants).

As of now, Elio says he’ll hire about 800 workers in June of 2015 to begin production sometime in September. That assumes, of course, that he’s able to raise the $145 million he needs “to get started”.

 

Source | Photos: Shreveport Times.

 

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.