Automotive

Elio Motors' 84 mpg, $6,800 three-wheeler continues to play hard to get

The launch date for Elio Motors' sub-US$7,000, three-wheel, tandem seat, 84 mpg (2.8 L/100km) marvel has been delayed ... again
The launch date for Elio Motors' sub-US$7,000, three-wheel, tandem seat, 84 mpg (2.8 L/100km) marvel has been delayed ... again
View 22 Images
The cover for the rear wheel (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
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The cover for the rear wheel (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
The two front wheels are now shielded in the latest prototype (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
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The two front wheels are now shielded in the latest prototype (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
Behind the wheel (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
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Behind the wheel (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
The prototype now has a trunk (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
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The prototype now has a trunk (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
The two front wheels are now shielded in the latest prototype (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
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The two front wheels are now shielded in the latest prototype (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
You won't be able to step into one for at least a year (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
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You won't be able to step into one for at least a year (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
Elio has a custom tablet-based infotainment system (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
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Elio has a custom tablet-based infotainment system (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
Elio has a custom tablet-based infotainment system (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
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Elio has a custom tablet-based infotainment system (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
The prototype now has a trunk (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
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The prototype now has a trunk (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
Elio has a custom tablet-based infotainment system (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
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Elio has a custom tablet-based infotainment system (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
Available for US$6,800 eventually...
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Available for US$6,800 eventually...
A mock-up of Elio's 0.9-liter 3-cylinder engine (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
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A mock-up of Elio's 0.9-liter 3-cylinder engine (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
A mock-up of Elio's 0.9-liter 3-cylinder engine (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
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A mock-up of Elio's 0.9-liter 3-cylinder engine (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
The launch date for Elio Motors' sub-US$7,000, three-wheel, tandem seat, 84 mpg (2.8 L/100km) marvel has been delayed ... again
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The launch date for Elio Motors' sub-US$7,000, three-wheel, tandem seat, 84 mpg (2.8 L/100km) marvel has been delayed ... again
Low angle shot of Elio Motor's three-wheeler
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Low angle shot of Elio Motor's three-wheeler
Rear view of Elio Motor's three-wheeler
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Rear view of Elio Motor's three-wheeler
Profile of Elio Motor's three-wheeler
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Profile of Elio Motor's three-wheeler
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The FWD traction of Elio Motor's three-wheeler being put to the test
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The FWD traction of Elio Motor's three-wheeler being put to the test
The FWD traction of Elio Motor's three-wheeler being put to the test
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The FWD traction of Elio Motor's three-wheeler being put to the test
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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.

Behind the wheel (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
Behind the wheel (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)

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."

A mock-up of Elio's 0.9-liter 3-cylinder engine (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
A mock-up of Elio's 0.9-liter 3-cylinder engine (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)

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

32 comments
zevulon
pre-ordering products is what they should call it; equityless investments. or , gambling for prizes.
Dax Wagner
I sat in it at CES this year. Nice design, but there is no way they're going to get the financing required. I hope I'm wrong, but pinning your hopes on pre-orders and a government loan is not a good business plan. Have they sold a single piece of machinery from the old plant yet? I'd put the odds of this going into production at 20%
Slowburn
Custom engineering engines when they should have been building "cars".
Kathy Vincent
About Elio ...You can file a charge back with your credit card company for a refund due to the false production dates. If enough people would do this the credit card company will encourage them to correct their false advertising. If he files bankruptcy it will be too late for a refund. Also if its ever produced, make sure you budgeted at least $15,000. Your agreement states sales price is not guaranteed. Also your deposit does not guarantee they will ever sell you a car or make these. Mr. Elio says if the car sold today he could not sell it for less than $7300. Yet he refuses to make this public by changing the advertised price. Earliest possible production start, if they raise $240 million in the next few weeks, is mid 2016. If this car is ever produced I can buy one the first year right after reservation holders. If they can make these as fast as they claim then there will be plenty to buy the first year, if its ever produced. Prices will only increase in the next 3 years and I'm sure there are many costs he did not consider. There is not a production date scheduled at this time
Kathy Vincent
This article says Mr. Elio is continuing to make enhancements to the car yet the company states it will still go for $6800. Paul Elio said in another interview that if the car were to sell today he could not sell it for less than $7300. He has increased his paid ads with Facebook in an attempt to get as many deposits as he can as fast as he can. I suspect this charade will soon come to an end.
Nairda
Fuel economy drops are happening fast. By the time these poor souls get their hands on this there will be full size family wagons that sport similar economy figures.
Sagraia
Developing a new engine is madness - The big guys put millions into this sort of thing. As most of the other similar projects have gone bust - even the excellent Aptera- these dreamers are doomed. By comparison the Original Twist 3-wheeler Honda GX engine costs £500 max
Don Rathburn
I hope the best for them. If they keep it simple, along the lines of a no frills basic enclosed motorcycle they have a chance. They sounded like they wanted to use off the shelf parts as much as possible, stuff you could easily get at the local store. If they get too far away from that and become too proprietary they are doomed.
morongobill
I finally got tired of the relentless emails trying to get me to get in line with a deposit and removed my name from the mailing list. Sure doesn't look good pushing back the launch date.
WellFedEd
If this new engine works out I hope they will sell some to other interested clients and not just keep it for the Elio only. The world needs a new small efficient engine designed from the ground up with all the latest technology available at an affordable price.
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