Question: Does ANYONE Still Believe in Elio Motors?

After years of delays, inquiries, broken promises, ridiculous PR moves, pessimistic SEC filings, and (maybe) even some outright lies, is there anyone out there who still believes Elio Motors is really going to happen?

Paul Elio Hopes You Still Believe / Send Money

Paul Elio with the Elio Motors prototype

When we first started writing articles questioning the- let’s call it “likelihood” that Paul Elio and the eponymously-named Elio Motors would ever be able to deliver finished vehicles to their customers, we were met with some pretty angry backlash from Elio supporters. Some called us tree-hugging liberals who hated everything that wasn’t electric, while others called us shills for Big Oil and the Big Three. A lot of that anger cognitive dissonance seemed to be coming from the /r/eliomotors subreddit.

But that was then. As of last count, Elio Motors needs between $64 million and $367 million to finish Job One (the first production vehicle), and that Reddit sub is, today, populated by a much more sobered, realistic group of people. People who are, in fact, asking each other the very same question I’m asking: do you still believe?

This thread on the Elio Owners website, from 2014, reads, “Those who have elected to go “all in” are True Believers and there are many factors for why we choose to be. Most of us have a passion for technology, but believe it goes far beyond this. For one I think it is the creativity of the idea that sparks us as to recognize this can be a game changer for how we look at automotive transport. We believe in Paul Elio and his team to deliver America a better form of transport that is uniquely focused on our passion for driving. At the same time we believe it is possible to build a vehicle that is on the leading edge of technology, safe, reliable, affordable, cool wrapped in a quality package. Why do we believe it so?”

That thread was re-posted the the /r/eliomotors subreddit again a few days ago, and the first response was telling. /u/Albert0_Kn0x responded with, “The irony is that elio could have opened as a small specialty manufacturer and maybe grown organically as they worked out the bugs. Instead they wanted to open huge, starting w/o either the product engineering or funding. There was a small-market feasibility to the vehicle concept. That price point, however, was never gonna happen.” Another user, /u/dunkybones, wrote, “I never thought Elio would actually succeed at its goals, but I did think I’d get a silly car for cheap before the company went bankrupt. Kind of the inverse of a Delorean.”

I don’t remember either of those guys eagerly leaping to my defense back when I compared the whole mess to the Dale scam of the 1970’s and the Elio faithful were flaming up my comments here on Gas2, but I believe them, nonetheless. I mean, after all- even the most optimistic versions of Elio’s plan didn’t add up. Which brings me back to the original question, and I’ll ask you readers more directly, this time.

Do YOU think Elio will ever deliver a fully functional three-wheeler to its customers? Do you even care, at this point? Let us know in the comments section at the bottom of the page.


Links to sources can be found throughout the content, above.


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, out on two wheels, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.