Automotive

Elio Motors wants customers to put their money where their mouths are

Elio Motors wants customers to...
Elio Motors is now asking for binding commitments to buy one of its three-wheelers
Elio Motors is now asking for binding commitments to buy one of its three-wheelers
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Elio Motors is now asking for binding commitments to buy one of its three-wheelers
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Elio Motors is now asking for binding commitments to buy one of its three-wheelers
Elio's three-wheeler promises 84 MPG
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Elio's three-wheeler promises 84 MPG
Inside the inline tandem seater
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Inside the inline tandem seater
A binding commitment to buy locks in a $7,000 price tag
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A binding commitment to buy locks in a $7,000 price tag
Elio from above
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Elio from above
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It's been over three years since Elio Motors' three-wheeled, two-passenger vehicle first crossed our radar with no firm production or delivery dates in sight just yet. To move things forward, the startup company is now asking its enthusiastic fans for binding commitments to purchase an Elio to help it secure government loans.

Currently, Elio Motors takes refundable and non-refundable reservations for its US$7,300, 84-mpg (2.8-L/100km) vehicle. All reservations require a deposit of between $100 and $1,000, with the non-refundable reservations getting priority places in line to eventually receive an Elio.

On Friday, the company announced that customers willing to make a binding commitment to purchase an Elio (or convert their current reservation to a binding commitment) will lock-in a lower price of just $7,000, a little closer to the $6,800 price the company had projected in previous years.

Elio is making this move as part of its application for financing from the U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) Loan Program. The program published new guidelines in June that essentially raise the bar and require binding purchase commitments from startup applicants in order to demonstrate market acceptance (and the likely ability to repay the loan).

We give kudos to Elio Motors for its transparency, but a binding commitment to buy a vehicle that has been consistently delayed over the past few years seems like a big ask. Fortunately, $7,000 is much less of a commitment than if, say, Tesla was to require a binding agreement for its $35,000 Model 3.

Elio points out that the ATVM loan is not a make-or-break for the company or its car, but it would surely help reduce future production delays.

Even if the loan doesn't pan out, Elio still has a lot going for it. We saw its test vehicle earlier this year, and it also became the first equity-crowdfunded company under new laws in the U.S. that allow unaccredited investors to buy stock in startups. The company was able to quickly raise $17 million from 6,600 new investors.

Source: Elio Motors, Start Engine (PDF)

Elio Motors - Coming to a road near you...

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19 comments
19 comments
Joe123
I have seen this deposit scheme done on aircraft kits for the past 30 years. It never comes out good. I smell a huge scam.
Mel Tisdale
caveat emptor
BJB
I've gotten screwed twice from fundraising sites. I'll pay the extra $300.00 and wait to see if they make it.
Bob Flint
Yeah that vehicle hiding in the sketchy back alley really instills the severity of the fate of your hard earned cash....like a shady drug dealer....
Milton
for a 3-wheeled car, I actually think it's pretty good looking. I would definitely consider one as a hybrid or all-electric powertrain.
habakak
Pfffft....this thing is an abomination. Please don't buy it. Three-wheeled cars/carts have proven to be unstable and unsafe. Just say no please.
We don't need to build smaller cars. We need to build cleaner and more efficient cars and it does not have to sacrifice size or safety. A huge electric SUV will be much more efficient than a tiny ICE mobile. In Europe and all over the world people would be driving huge SUV's if they had cheap gasoline prices. People mostly want big vehicles (now for safety too) for comfort and versatility.
Mike Barnett
Since the vast majority of us who have committed at the 1K non refundable level already considered ourselves as committed to purchase, this was pretty much a no brainer. And, at the 7K price point, less my 1K deposit and 500.00 bonus, my predelivery price is now a locked in 5500.00. I'm good with that!
CharlesB.Stanley
The comment that Elio has delayed production has come up here and in other articles done by other groups. However, Elio has never delayed production. The supposed delays that people keep citing were Target Dates. As in we hope to be in production during ZYX quarter of 20XX. Elio motors has never stated a production startup date. The being said it is unfair and incorrect for anyone to say that Elio has delayed production. In 2014 when i placed a non-refundable reservation for my Elio, it was clear that Elio still needed more than 200 million dollars. They knew they had to have the money to start production. Since I placed my reservation in August of 2014, Elio has demonstrated their own working engine (the first startup auto maker to do so since Nash in the 1950's). They finished the last Prototype (the P5 which has the new Elio engine and the transmission they will use in the production car). They are the first company to use the new SEC regulation A+ option to sell stocks (netting them $17,000,000). They are in the process of building 23 E vehicles that are to be tested for ride, comfort, handling, gas mileage,,...etc. then they will be crash tested to prove that the Elio has a good crash rating. In December Elio motors will start building 100 Elios at the factory in Shreveport, La. Those cars will be sold to fleet customers to both raise funds, prove out the tooling, and to get feedback from the fleet customers. So Elio is in better and better position to obtain the funds still needed for production to begin. As a member of one of the larger Elio Facebook groups, I posted a poll asking members if they have signed the commitment form to buy their Elio/s. So far a little over 200 of the members have responded. nearly 200 have already committed to buy. Of the remaining members about half have not decided if they will sign the commitment form or not. For me it was a no-brainer. I plan to complete the purchase of my Elio when it is available no matter what happens. The target price of $6800 is not possible at this time and my commitment locks in my base price at $7,000 plus any options I might choose to get.
Daniel Harbin
Funding sites are great when they deliver. I have seen many funding schemes for vehicles. This is basically a motorcycle and most of the big complex bikes I have seen cost somewhere north of 10K. So my guess is that if they do in fact go to production the original holders who paid full price will get complete vehicles, the ones who put up deposits will get the bad news the price is increased due to unforeseen production costs.
The concept of a new 7K vehicle is appealing. It would be hard pressed to build a similar vehicle off of used parts for 5K using your own labor so I doubt this one will appear for 7K. It is a 12K vehicle.
JohnNelson
When a multi millionaire like Elio is asking for $ from all the little guys like the saps that have deposited MILLIONS, some thing smells. While I love the concept, I fear that thousands will have been duped out of their hard earned cash. If a giant, established manufacture like Honda, with super efficent factories, has to charge 7 grand for a comparatively less complicated vehicle made with less materials, like a 700 cc motorcycle, just how NAIVE must someone be to place their money in Elio's fist?