Elio Motors' 84 mpg, $6,800 three-wheeler continues to play hard to get
The wait is set to continue for those that have laid down some cash and cleared a space in their garage for Elio Motors' US$6,800, tandem seat, 84 mpg (2.8 L/100km) American-made three-wheeler. The company has announced the vehicle's launch has been delayed ... again.
When we first reported on Elio Motors' concept car in mid-2013, it was expected to go into production in July 2014. When we checked it out in person at CES 2014, that date had been pushed back to the first quarter of 2015. Shortly after seeing the new and improved prototype last month at CES 2015, Elio has pushed the launch date back yet again, this time into 2016.
That must be a bitter pill to swallow for the nearly 39,000 people that have put down between $100 and $1,000 to reserve their spot in the production line. In a press release that went out a week after CES wrapped last month, the company focused on the multiple financing options it was pursuing, indicating that financing its operation is clearly an issue.
"We are currently working on several financial strategies, and are confident funding will be secured,” CEO Paul Elio said in the statement, adding that it was "too premature" to pin down a production date, but that it will be in 2016 and not 2015.
Among those financial strategies is selling millions of dollars worth of surplus equipment on eBay from the former General Motors facility in Louisiana where the company plans to manufacture its vehicles.
Despite delays, Elio continues to press ahead with refinements and additions to the vehicle, which it showed off at CES 2015. The latest prototype that we saw in person has an added hatchback trunk for more storage and a new tablet-based infotainment system that brings music, navigation, connectivity and optional control of a rear view camera.
Further, Elio plans to unveil its custom developed 0.9-liter, 3-cylinder engine prototype at a private event this Friday in Michigan. The company claims to be the "first start-up vehicle manufacturer to develop its own internal combustion engine since Nash Motors in 1951."
The engine was designed by Berlin-based automotive engineering company IAV to be efficient in both highway and city driving environments. Elio says it will take the vehicle to a top speed of 100 mph (161 km/h), with acceleration from zero to 60 mph (96.5 km/h) taking 9.6 seconds.
The company still says the car will go for $6,800 and be offered in a choice of seven colors. For more information and vehicle specs, check out our previous coverage.
Source: Elio Motors