The story of Elio Motors goes back many years, but it has managed to stay well below the radar, mostly because there hasn't been much news. This has changed.
Back in 2009, a reader pointed out that Elio was looking for DOE funds, but since then we haven't hears much about the company that apparently thinks the Corbin Sparrow is a good vehicle to copy. This week, it was announced that Elio has reached an agreement to buy an old General Motors plant near Shreveport, LA and is now taking reservations. Elio claims it will hire 1,500 workers by April to build funky-looking, three-wheeled, high-efficiency vehicles. How efficient? The company website talks about 84 miles per gallon for a price of just $6,800. We've heard a ton of promises in the green car world in the past, but those numbers are certainly noteworthy – should they ever be reached.
The plant in question is the GM Shreveport Assembly and Stamping plant in Caddo Parish and the Detroit Free Press says Louisiana will likely provide some financial help to get the non-union shop started. The first deliveries of the tadpole-style vehicle (possibly called the Trikke) are supposed to take place in July 2014. Company SEC documents (available here) show that last year, Elio raised $150,00 (out of a hoped-for $10 million). The car will come with a three-year, 36,000 mile warranty.
The Elio trike will apparently be available with either a manual or automatic transmission and have some creature comforts like airbags, air conditioning and ABS brakes. That's much more than most motorcycles (which is what the Elio technically will be) but not as much as many cars today. Elio also says it expects to get five-star crash ratings, but motorcycles don't get crash tested in that way, so we're not sure what this means.
There are two videos about Elio below.