I’m Back … Did Anyone Get Their Elio, Yet?


Elio Motors - 2016

Hi, kids! It’s been a little over four months since the last time I published anything on these pages (cancer’s a bitch, amirite?). This site has definitely changed in those months. It is now very much Steve’s baby, now. Still, I’m glad again to be welcomed back with open arms. One thing that hasn’t changed, though? There are tens of thousands of people who put their hard-earned money down on Elio Motors’ 3-wheeled wündercar still don’t have squat to show for it.

Or do they?

Back in January of this year, Elio was promising that deliveries of its Autocycle would begin “in mid 2016“. By my calendar, that’s right about the time I checked out. As such, some of you Elio Motors true-believers have been able to prove that Elio is the real deal by taking delivery of your farm-fresh three-wheeler, right? Surely!

So, in order to lay all those claims about Elio Motors being a long con and never, ever happening to rest once and for all, I invite you- the long-time readers and commenters of Gas 2 and Reddit’s r/eliomotors board to come on down and tell us all first-hand about the delivery process, what you like and don’t like about driving your Elio, how many real-world MPGs the little trike is giving you, and whether or not it was just like those Onion ads said it would be.

What’s that? Oh- well, it looks like no one has actually gotten their Elio, yet … and that Elio’s plan to rectify this is to show yet another concept vehicle at the Los Angeles Auto Show next month.


Even Reddit Has Turned On Elio

Back in 2013/2014, whenever I’d write about Paul Elio a screeching, frothing mass of true believers rained into the comments section. Usually, they ended up calling me a liberal, a conservative, a racist, a hippie, and a paid schill for Big Oil. Big Oil- if you’re listening, I’m happy to take your money. But, when I went to check in on the subreddit today, I found a very different attitude towards Elio.

    u/rushclay wrote: You’re going to build 24 E cars, then 100 fleet vehicles, AND 250,000 production vehicles by the end of 2017? You’re going to need more cocaine. Five months per car isn’t cutting it. Maybe you should hire some Mexicans. They aren’t afraid to put in a good day’s work.

    u/Albert0_kn0x wrote: Notice it is going to a car show where it will be used as a fundraising tool. Not to the track for testing, not for durability tests, not for crash tests, Heck, not to be driven at all. Unfortunately the media keeps just repeating Elio’s breathless press releases, giving them an air of credibility. New deposits will be made and new suckers investors will line up for a second stock offering … I’m amazed the FTC or SEC hasn’t shut this scam down.


The most amazing thing of all, though, was that they seemed to be able to post all that without anything near like the anger and defensiveness I used to get over there. Seems like old “Honest Abe” was right, I guess … but what do you guys think? Is Elio making the right move by delaying the launch of his “proven” high MPG trike in favor of developing an all-new electric, or is this just another attempt to snag some tax dollars? Let me know what you think in the comments, below. Enjoy!


Original content from 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.

  • kevin mccune

    I am confused,did they deliver any cars or not ?I am a little skeptical and I expect creep on the price in short order.I like the concept ,but at least Elon has delivered cars (which seem to be pretty well received-take that naysayer and electric haters)
    The bolt seems to be generating a good bit of interest too, now one thing that has some bigwigs scared is the ability to homebrew fuel for the electric cars from PV arrays,most e10 haters wouldnt even consider brewing pure alcohol to power their rides ,but maybe we can get some people self filling their tanks on sunshine .

    • As far as I can tell, no. There has been no production, and the latest news is that they are rolling out an updated prototype in Los Angeles in a bid to raise more money.


      Remember when this was a simple little car built on proven technology and basic principles? Those were the days … seven years ago.

  • Rick Danger

    Jo, welcome back! I hope the treatments were a success.
    OK, I’m confused. I stopped getting Elio’s daily emails many months ago, so let me see if I i have this right:

    • I’ve been calling scam ever since they crossed my radar- then stopped when they bought a bunch of ads- then started up again, because I am nothing if not a halfway decent shill. LOL

      • “I’ve been calling scam ever since they crossed my radar-”
        Me too. It’s the engineering that is impossible. The claims they make for performance, safety, and cost of manufacture are just not supportable.

        For years my posts were mocked by those with little knowledge of how things are engineered or manufactured. People kept putting hopes and faith over rational thinking. Some guy once said Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. A little skepticism could have saved over 60,000 working folks who need a cheap car some of their hard earned cash. Those who bought stock without reading or understanding the prospectus, well, they get what they deserve.

        (and thanks for the quote!)

    • Dale LeBarron

      No Rick, No-one has said anything about EM going with an electric drive train.
      That was just Jo pontificating and trying to slyly start yet another rumor.

      • Rick Danger

        Thanks Dale. At least it would have given them a good excuse to put deliveries back to 2020.
        Actually, Paul Elio said years ago that once production of the Elio gasser was well underway, he wanted to look at doing an EV model. However, since the gas model seems to be caught between galaxies, guess he won’t ever have to worry about an EV.

      • Wait- they’re *NOT* going electric? Then what do they want another prototype for/how will they go after more grants?

        • Dale LeBarron

          They’ve got two of 25 test vehicles built. Those two are undergoing testing and tweaking by several different suppliers. The red P5, even though it’s got the new engine in it, is basically just another drive-able mule with the new outer body style. It’s the one that’s been on tour since you’ve been away. The 25 units they’re building now has the stamped steel frame (rather than the tubular frame) and is very close to what the production model is going to be. They’re going to both use that on tour while keeping up with all the tweaks on it that final testing dictates. They’re too invested in the 3-banger to even think about changing course now. The DOE requested that they have early adopters commit to a purchase. They did not ask for any more deposit money, they simply asked for a promise from the reservation holders that they’ll purchase a vehicle when they’re available. For that promise, the person promising gets to lock in (it’s been a projected price until now) their price @ $7K and the reservation holders still get to keep their bonuses. Supposedly that shows the DOE that there’s a market for the Elio. There are now over 60,000 reservations and they’re coming in (this past week) at over 90 per day. After all 25 test vehicles are built and tested, they’ll build the 100 fleet (in my mind road testers) vehicles. Hopefully somewhere along there the DOE will give their blessing on the loan guarantee. Jo, DO NOT use the word GRANT. People are going to call you on that one. It is not, no way, shape or form a grant. They haven’t applied for any grants. It’s a loan guarantee. Just like your funds are federally guaranteed in your local bank, Lenders will LEND Elio Motors the big bucks and the federal loan guarantee program (if they qualify and are accepted) will back that loan. Elio Motors will be obligated to pay that loan back in a relatively short amount of time according to it’s terms with interest. No free-bees. Just like Tesla did. Hey, we’re just hangin’ in there. It’ll be interesting, will it not? I have a reservation on the Canadian Solo too so I’m having tons of fun. I also own the Solo and SRK forums and would post the links but I’d be spamming you and I wouldn’t do that to ya Jo. Cheers man.

  • James Rowland

    Unfortunately, the one thing that can’t be fixed by another funding round is bad management.

  • Dale LeBarron

    Yeah, back like a bad cold or the flu…

  • LiLWing

    Welcome back Joe! As a longtime Elio follower & reservation holder I started doubting this when they had problems securing the plant. Since then this project keeps slipping away yet the endless supply of press & an occasional bone Elio throws its faithful keeps the spin alive. Elio has yet to live up to any of its own timelines for anything. 100 million in debt & 300 million needed to get this into production. And the band plays on. I’m thinking the lights will go out on Elio soon.

    • As I’ve said many times: I hope I’m wrong, and I hope you get something for your hard-earned money. Good luck!

  • Arthur Burnside

    Jo Barras must be the most ignorant ass on the planet. Everyone else knows the travails of trying to start a new auto company, but apparently Barras thinks it’s easy. He forgets just how many problems even billionaire Elon Musk had trying to produce
    a car by himself, without the assistance of an existing auto company. I can only conclude that Barras is purposely avoiding reality because of some personal hatred for Paul Elio. Elio has produced the many bright ideas for his vehicle and it will succeed if given half a chance. Only an automotive dimwit can fail to see what Paul has wrought. Get a life, Jo.

    • Sam McClyde

      One fact that can’t be ignored. And that is the new startups that have came to being since Elio has been grubbing reservations. One even makes their own engine. Jo nailed it, Elio Motors is playing a long con. Look into what their lobbying will do to the new autocar if passed. It defeats the reason Elio says they are using 3 wheels, they will have to pass safety just like a vehicle with 4 wheels. Remember when Elio said they only have 3 wheels because it costs too much to meet safety regulations with four wheels. They shit in their own nest. But go ahead and keep blindly supporting this con game, we promise not to laugh. I paid a $1000 back in 2013 when it was supposed to be a cheap basic vehicle, now that investment allows me to say anything I want about them.

      • Rick Danger

        Sam, I’ve never read the autocycle qualifications. I heard that there were crash safety requirements, but I wonder how stringent they are? Besides, Elio has always claimed their vehicle would get a “5 star safety rating,” whatever that means. To date, I don’t believe they have crash tested a single one, thus keeping the dream alive for another funding round another day.

    • Steve Hanley

      I don’t think that’s true, Arthur. Donald Trump is the most ignorant ass on the planet, followed closely by the entire Republican congressional contingent. At most, Jo is only the 987th most ignorant ass on the planet! ; – )

      • 986 after my daughter starts kindergarten!

    • Tesla = 100,000+ cars delivered. Elio = 0. Who’s the one avoiding reality?

  • Namakabrood Abrood

    Too late since gas prices are the lowest. I’d rather drive a used Toyota Yaris which is more practical and safer than this clown car.

  • roseland67

    Does anyone really want one?

    • Donald W. Mohr

      I do, or I’d like my reservation money back.

    • Rick Danger

      For me, no plug, no sale, but if this was an Elio EV, I would have had money down on it too.

  • brodyus

    A bunch of haters on here. It doesn’t matter what any of you think, it’s coming.

    • Just like the Mayan apocalypse- both were originally due in 2012. 😉

      • Rick Danger

        LOL, this!
        The same thing happened to the Lit C-1; right up to Q3 2014, they held to the fantasy that they would start deliveries by the end of 2014. That’s when they lost me forever.

  • Paul

    I haven’t even received my T shirt that I was suppose to receive with my deposit.

    • HOLY S417SNACKS!! Can I quote you on that? That’s amazing …

      • Paul

        Of course you can.

  • DHZ

    What I do not understand is why they just did not start making and selling them immediately at low volume providing immediate proof of viability and ability to deliver. When so many people have evidently tried to buy, it makes no sense to do things like set out to develop your own engine, when you had engines in the prototypes that were working fine. Do the new engine in year 2. The Elios is not such a hard vehicle to build. I have followed the Elios development from the start. ZEV Electric developed a trike a little smaller than the Elios (the T3-1), in electric, tested and developed it in less than 2 years, and started to deliver the first prelaunch order customers their $5400 trike 4 months after ordering. ZEV had a lot less cash and claimed expertise than Elios. Now with ZEV making delivery sales are just getting bigger and 4 more larger/faster/etc models are in prototype including enclosed models with all of the features of the Elios (but ZEV are all electric). So I understand building such vehicles completely. Trying to take over an ex major car company factory and jump to major production in the realm of major car companies is just a nightmare rather than a dream.

  • DrZarkov99

    The advertised price has gone up from $6800 to $7200. The 56,000 deposits they have on hand are all (supposedly) refundable, but now the government has informed them they can’t qualify for DOT grants unless they start collecting non-refundable deposits (proof of cash on hand to refund the grants if they don’t deliver). I have to wonder how many suckers will gift them more money that they haven’t a prayer of getting back?

    • Dale LeBarron

      Funny Doc, I’m getting mine for $7K minus my $750 in bonuses. What’s
      that come to? $6250 if I did the math right. The rest of your post is
      not true either. According to estimates, at least half of the deposits
      are non-refundable and about 1/3 are $1000 all-in non-refundable. Not
      true about the DOE (not the DOT) request. Do some fact checking before
      starting rumors please. And Jo, they have NOT applied for any grants.
      They have applied for a loan guarantee program run by the DOE. That
      means if accepted and approved, financial institutions (not the federal
      government) will lend them money. The DOE will guarantee that the
      lending institutions get their money back in the same manner that your
      bank account would be guaranteed by the FDIC. If accepted and part of
      the guarantee program, Elio Motors would have to pay back the loan plus
      interest in a fairly short amount of time. Tesla had the same deal.
      Facts folks, facts please.

      • Aaron

        When are you getting yours? That’s a pretty bold statement considering the company, according to them, doesn’t have the required funds to build the 100 pre-production vehicles, much less the production vehicles.

        • Dale LeBarron

          Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Thanks for being the only person that’s ever been original enough to point that out to all of us. I guess now I’ll just have to walk around bummed for the rest of the day. You win.

          • Aaron

            Just trying to bring you back to reality. I figure if you’re going to admonish someone for how they’re presenting information, you might need to be reminded of where yours is coming from.

            As an aside, you’re going for a bone-stock Elio? You know they don’t even come with carpet at the price-point, yes?

          • Dale LeBarron

            Aaron, I guess I should have qualified my correction with “If I get my Elio, I’ll get mine for…” for you. Fair enough. But wasn’t that just nit-picking? Weren’t you really reaching to come up with that as a come-back? Tomato, Tom-ah-to. What I did was try to correct some incorrect factual information for other readers’ benefit. Would you rather see people spread their own facts and realities, false or not, as long as they use them to condemn EM and those of us who have nothing better to do than wait and see because we’re already all-in? I have no buyers remorse what-so-ever. I had enough of a grip on reality to only deposit it if I could afford to loose it. I have a ‘buyout’ store nearby that has some great carpeting for pennies on the dollar. I’ve built and covered a couple hundred large PA speakers with Ozite, so carpeting the little Elio will take me an afternoon and cost me $70. Carpeting aside, as I’m pretty sure you already know, the trike will come with A/C Power lock, Power Windows, Cruise Control, 5-speed stock tranny, Stereo/CD/bluetooth *IF* it’s produced. I think I’ve got this now. I’m happy if you’re happy. Oh, and *IF* it’s produced, I’ll get all that for $6250. It’s been interesting. Cheers man.

          • Aaron

            I wish you luck. I certainly hope your Elio gets made.

  • Kevin Sharpe


    Elio needs the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program bucks to pull this off. Several hundred million of those bucks.
    However, the last loan from the DOE/ATVM was in 2010…6 years ago!
    After the Obama debacles in other, related DOE energy loan programs, like Solyndra ($500M down the drain), the Republican controlled Congress has been wary of approving any more of DOE’s loan applications, including ATVM loans. The $16 billion in remaining ATVM loan authority, has been languishing in bureaucratic limbo.

    In an election year, Congress typically does nothing, unless it is politically expedient.
    Enter Shreveport, Louisiana.
    Only if…big “IF”…the Republicans calculate that they can save existing, or capture new Senate/House seats by doling out money in Louisiana. will Elio get a shot at the ATVM loan. Elio is lobbying Congress hard…but it may not be enough.

    • Dale LeBarron

      Wrong again.
      Congress does not approve or reject the individual loan guarantee program applications. Only the DOE can do that. And it will remain so until Congress PASSES law that changes it. Congress did put 7.5 billion (enough equity to GUARANTEE 25 billion in NON-GOVERNMENT commercial loans to companies approved and accepted BY THE DOE (and the DOE only) in a fund and made it available to the DOE and the program. There is 4.6 billion left enough to guarantee 16.6 billion dollars worth of loans. Certain members of congress have been trying to get their hands on what’s left of the 7.5 billion for years to allocate it to pork barrel expenditures (much like our social security), but they haven’t been able to get a majority vote to pass the legislation.

      “As of January2015, ATVM has $16.6 billion in remaining loan authority. No new loans have been made since 2011.”

      Like you said, nothing has changed since.

      That’s from the a Congressional Research Report date Jan. 15, 2015.
      I’d post the link to PDF, but Gas2 won’t publish this response if I put a link in it. Already tried once before this.

  • coastalocal

    I think I’ll just buy an airplane instead

  • bananas

    Paul Elio is making a lot money now, without a single sale. He is winning, investors are losing. How many years has it been? He promotes using existing off-the-shelf parts, so why is it taking so long? Keep the con game going by putting down more deposits and buying more stock.

  • Niko Saltus-Petra

    I like the concept. It would be nice to have it. My issues is that they’ve pushed back numerous times. Their original executive staff quit and was replaced summer of this year. Local politicians are getting upset about the empty plant that was going to have these things built. They’re officially broke. Lastly they’re still in 5th of the 25 prototypes being made. So lot’s of people just waiting while the staffs are making “prototypes”, CEO and execs are making six figures or more (while sipping on Starbucks), and the starting price is a joke which doesn’t “guarantee” you a vehicle (with my customization it went +$11k). I rather wait till real life Gen/Version 3 comes out and fixed any bugs (when/if it happens). For now I hope everyone is still looking forward for a Dale.

  • BillHoo

    Elio seems to be going the same way as the Aptera and Persu.