Automotive

$7,000 84-mpg Elio car moves forward with new production plant

$7,000 84-mpg Elio car moves f...
Elio Motors announces its next step toward production
Elio Motors announces its next step toward production
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Elio Motors announces its next step toward production
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Elio Motors announces its next step toward production
The Elio at CES 2014
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The Elio at CES 2014
A different green design, the Elio offers up to 84-mpg based on light, composite construction, aerodynamic design and a small gas engine
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A different green design, the Elio offers up to 84-mpg based on light, composite construction, aerodynamic design and a small gas engine
The Elio's current specs include a 55-hp inline three-cylinder engine
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The Elio's current specs include a 55-hp inline three-cylinder engine
The Elio's current specs include a 55-hp inline three-cylinder engine
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The Elio's current specs include a 55-hp inline three-cylinder engine
Some state regulations classify three-wheeled vehicles as motorcycles, but Elio is working on exemptions
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Some state regulations classify three-wheeled vehicles as motorcycles, but Elio is working on exemptions
The Elio seats a single passenger directly behind the driver
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The Elio seats a single passenger directly behind the driver
Elio Motors is still sticking with its $6,800 base price estimate
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Elio Motors is still sticking with its $6,800 base price estimate
The current Elio has 5.75 in (14.6 cm) of ground clearance
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The current Elio has 5.75 in (14.6 cm) of ground clearance
The Elio has independent suspension with coil-over-spring and shock in the front and mono-shock with coil-over-spring and shock in the rear
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The Elio has independent suspension with coil-over-spring and shock in the front and mono-shock with coil-over-spring and shock in the rear
View gallery - 10 images

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.

"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.

Elio Motors is still sticking with its $6,800 base price estimate
Elio Motors is still sticking with its $6,800 base price estimate

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 Motors

View gallery - 10 images
64 comments
Grunchy
OMG I might have to buy one of these after all!! I got in at $100 "just to see", then I read Jo Borras's really nasty (but accurate) summary, and figured this probably isn't going anywhere. Oh well if it happens, I'll pay up. I'll have a gen-1.
DLK811
Its a great Idea, I'm guessing they can be produced relatively inexpensively due to not meeting all the government regulations for cars since they qualify as a motorcycle with 3 tires. Now if they could just put a small (but powerful) turbo diesel engine in it.
JimRD
I like it.
Ozuzi
Twice the economy of my two cylinder motorcyle? crazy claim
VoiceofReason
Ozuzi....it's not crazy....an exposed motorcycle rider is much higher and has a much high drag coefficient. Simple physics.
In fact the VW Polo gets almost 70 mpg on the highway with four seats and a normal car cross section. You just can't buy one in the United States thanks to the DOT.
The much thinner Elio should be able to achieve those numbers. Like DLK811, I too wish they would have opted for a smaller turbo diesel. It probably would have spiked over 100mpg on the highway easily.
Joel Detrow
I wager Elio will make a slightly more expensive model with a turbo-diesel, but one step at a time - they have to make and succeed with the original Elio first!
Christopher Borden
Great idea as a commuter vehicle that would be a blessing on fuel consumption. When competing with SUVs and CUVs they wouldn't have the carrying capacity but to travel between point A and B convenience would be paramount. Wishing them well in this venture.
Matt Fletcher
I don't think a 1+1 seating position will sell well. GM did studies in the 50's regarding this and they weren't favorable. I would normally say this company is doomed to failure but the Board includes David Schembri (from Mercedes) and Kenneth Way (from Lear) so I'd say they're not aiming to scale up slowly (not your typical start-up). The unnecessarily large building no doubt is due to their other board member Stuart Lichter. It sounds like Lichter pushed for a lease, on one of the largest commercial real estate properties in his portfolio, with this start-up (which he also happens to serves as a board member). Dumping a large building on this start-up probably wasn't a good idea for scaling up but they were probably able to get a good tax incentive from the city/county/state to fill it. They'll also be in the location to get some of the cheapest skilled labor in the country to build it. Good Luck Elio
Tom Dingels
3 wheel Casket.
steveraxx
Hopeful that there are enough Americans who are the opposite of the huge SUV buying neanderthals. The main stumbling block in America is one of perception. Difficult to believe but true, there are many millions of people who actually look at some stupid machine like the escalade, and view it as an aspirational vehicle. Oh look at me I am so wealthy I can waste resources just to drive myself around!
People with healthy egos drive whatever suits them. Some even more able people want something like this vehicle. A sporty looking vehicle which also gives you fantastic fuel mileage.
Best of luck Elio!