Elio Motors is taking the next big step toward the production of its 84-mpg (2.8 L/100km) tandem three-wheeler. It won't quite make its original Summer 2014 start, but it plans to get Elios rolling off the lines next year at the former General Motors Shreveport Assembly and Stamping Plant in Louisiana.
In the wake of the purchase of the plant by the Caddo Parish Industrial Development Board, Elio is moving forward with its plans to rent 1.5 million sq ft (139,000 sq m) of space. Elio also mentions that part of the remaining 2.6 million sq ft (242,000 sq m) of plant space may be rented by some of its suppliers.
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"This has been an extremely exciting week not just for me personally, but for the entire Elio Motors team," says Paul Elio, CEO and founder of Elio Motors. "We’ve had an incredible amount of momentum, which has led us to a new plant that will be the foundation for building the new vehicle. Plus, we also raised over $7 million to help us move forward."
"My dream has been to build a new kind of safe, reliable, fuel-efficient vehicle here in the United States. Acquiring this 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."
Elio projects that it will create 1,500 new jobs in the Shreveport area, beginning its hiring push later this year and completing it by late 2015. It plans to start vehicle production in the first quarter of 2015.
Since we covered the Elio last spring, its engine has been updated to a 55-hp 0.9-liter inline three-cylinder. Other specs, including the 84-mpg highway fuel economy, 100-mph (161 km/h) top speed and 672-mile (1,081 km) range, remain the same, as does the projected price of US$6,800.
Check out our gallery for photos of the current Elio design from CES 2014, the latest stop on the prototype's ongoing tour around the country.
Source: Elio MotorsView gallery - 10 images