Elio Motors three-wheeler release and production woes

By Peter Chubb - Aug 3, 2014

Since the launch of the Polaris Slingshot at the start of the week there has been a renewed interest in Elio Motors three-wheeler release, as it would be a far cheaper option for those of you wishing to have some fun on three wheels. However, there seems to be a few production woes from the general public, and some of them have been contacting us to share their thoughts.

Will the Elio ever be sold to customers? This seems to be the question that has been debated and there doesn’t seem to be a huge belief in Elio Motors promise of releasing its three-wheeler for $7,000. Here are a few reasons why in the words of some Product-reviews readers.

One of our readers said, “Elio has now pushed the production of its car back once again, making it the fourth time. Delivery is now expected September 2015, which is funny considering the original date was the fall of 2012.”

Another reader has commented saying, “Elio has only managed to raise around the quarter of the $200 needed to begin production, hence the delays.” If this is the case, then if they do not have the funding today, then there is no way a delivery date of September 2015 will be met.

The reason why is because getting the tooling and setting up the assembly line takes time, and that’s without training the staff to manufacture these vehicles. You might think a year is a long time, but it isn’t when you take those things into consideration.

Then there is the Elio price, as another reader said, “Getting a vehicle like this with features such as air bags, traction control and the sort of expected performance will come at a price greater than around $7,000.” There is always doubt when someone comes along and states they can produce a vehicle that is almost half the price of the competition. Let’s just see what happens because they could surprise us, especially as there is already a fourth prototype, which the media has tested.

What do you think the chances are of the Elio Motors three-wheeler being released next year?

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Also See: Elio Motors production edges closer

  • scruffy

    Saw the Elio at the Barrett Jackson auction in Phoenix…Impressive – and we, like many others, signed up..We were told they would start production in 2016…After reading online material about the company and car, have my doubts..But, if they can, and we get one – we’ll be tickled!!

  • Richard Skelly

    Wikipedia: Elio Motors is an American startup automaker founded in 2008 by Paul Elio. Why are we still hearing about this lame want to be of a nothing. Its been starting up for 7 years now.

    Elio has released their “definitive” 2016 model at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, even though the electric-looking three-wheeler is gasoline powered. A Consumer Electronics Show? How retarded is that? Oh boy 2016.

  • Tom Buyea — Fla.News service

    As to being able to sell it for around $7,000 about three years ago I was waiting for a bus in front of a Chevrolet dealership and looking at the least expensive Chevrolet parked rite behind me on the lot a basic 4 door hatchback 3 or 4 cylinder five speed stick with AC, Made in South Korea for Chevrolet to all the USA safety standards An elderly car salesman saw me looking at the price sticker which was $12,750 and said don’t pay any attention to that price sticker, I can get you one of those for $7,000, I said a New One ? He said yes, I said thank you, A couple weeks later I was waiting for a bus there again and I went in the showroom and asked the sales manager if that price was possible ? Several other salesmen gathered around to listen in, The manager got on his computer and said yes I can get that for you for $7,400 + tax, tag and title transfer ! I thought they were playing a trick on me, But then they offered me a test drive and then I knew that price was for real, So it seems an Elio may be able to be produced for $7,000 ? (;^))

    • Tom Buyea — Fla.News service

      OK Now after re-reading my own post here weeks later, I realize I made a mistake, Just because a Korean Chevrolet can be made in Korea and sell for $7,000 does Not mean an Elio can be produced in the USA for $7,000 ?? What is the Korean pay scale ?

  • MarkinTX

    I have confidence that Elio will be a significant success and will deliver in 2015. I also believe that we will be seeing the traditional automobile companies, both American and foreign, scramble to get competing products to market and chasing Elio’s lead. Elio will succeed. After all, they are Americans… 😉

    • Tom Buyea — Fla.News service

      That is one of Paul Elio’s biggest problems he is too American, White men who are Not already filthy rich get nothing from the fed gov not even a job, Much less $185,000,000 start up money, Unfortunately Paul is too White American Male, The sex and race that has been VI lionized by the gov and political correctness now for years, They obviously caused all the problems and now should be closed out of everything even though they are mostly responsible for building everything that exists at least as the designers and financers

  • Jon Krüger


    • Tom Buyea — Fla.News service

      What does that mean ?

      • appalled

        Really? You don’t know what vaporware is? You need to get out more… or at least read the news on occasion.

        • Tom Buyea — Fla.News service

          No I never heard of vaporware (a product hyped but never released) But I am on almost a daily email to and from the Elio team now for about ten months and I am Not signed up in pay in advance mode with them although I may ?? Buy one “If” they ever get into production and they have produced a few thousand and they seem to be running well.
          But just by the way, I have told the Elio crew that if the Elio never comes to be that it probably is the most advertised car ever that never came to be.
          It all boils down to if Paul Elio gets the $185,000,000 fed gov. start up money and about another $115,000,000 he claims he needs to reach the $300,000,000 needed to get started, He claims he has other large investors willing ? I know one thing Paul should learn and that is not to chew gum all the time when he is doing interviews I wish him and America good luck, America needs the jobs, But he will probably Not get the government money obviously because he is not a minority or an illegal immigrant !

  • Doc

    What are the chances? About the same as the Titanic docking in New York harbor!!

  • Richard Skelly

    Zero chance that you will see them on the road in 2015.

    • Tom Buyea — Fla.News service

      Correct it could be 2016
      Or YOU Could just give up on America and Americans rite now !?

  • Kent

    Elio should be half the price as it is half a car. Elio also has the advantage that it doesn’t have layer after layer of corporate executives sucking up the gravy. If you knew the true marginal cost of producing a car, you would understand that this is very doable and a great idea that should have happened decades ago if not for the innovation stifling management of Corporate America.

    • ThelmaCHiser

      my friend’s step-mother makes $73 every hour on the computer. She has been out of a job for 7 months but last month her pay was $7220 just working on the computer for a few hours.


      Read more on this web siteJOBSWO.COM



  • Kent Beuchert

    There obviously is quite a lack of knowledge about the Elio and its circumstnces, some referring to events two or ven three years ago as their latest information. The engine Elio had to design and build, since the only three cylinder pit there was out of produciton and also out of date, has been completed and prototypes made for testng by IAV, one of the world’s very best independent engineering frms, and they also wil designand build the tranies – in fact the entire drivetrain is in ther very capable hands. Now how anyne can know this (may don’t) and yet still cling to the silly idea that Elio Motors, with its distinguished board of directors,will not produce a car is laughable and displays an enormous amount of sheet ignorance. They have succeeded in getting the old GM Hummer plant and are now staffing and preparing the facility. With their 4th prototype/mule design,along with the delivery of the IAV drivetrain, they are very close to the initiation of testing the final design. Paul Elio has said that final financing is assured to begin production and the have 25,000 deposits in hand and a contract with Pep Boys as servicing agent. How in the world anyone can view what has transpired and yet still cling to the bizarre notion that all this will somehow disappear in a puff of smoke makes me wonder which planet these folks call home. Being skeptical is one thing, being really, really ignorant and yet having a strong opinion is quite another. Get in touch with reality, people. The Elio is every bit as real as the morons who think it’s not (some would say more so)

    • Dan Ashley

      BRP in Canada has a 3 cylinder “triple” in production. It pushes about 106 hp, I think. It is 1330 cc engine. Or, if you will, 1.3 L. This makes it about 1/5 the size of a Chevy or Ford big block engine. So, Elio does not need to spend thousands of man-hours developing a new engine. Elio does not have a dedicated engineering department anyway.

    • Richard Skelly

      Whatever flips your skirt. They don’t have the funds or we would be seeing your geek three causing traffic jams by now. 25,000 is not making you get it any faster so I don’t know why this number seams to be the magic number. To hear quotes from Paul, He said this he said that. What so funny is people follow him like a cult. Let’s say he pushes the date out futher again which has been the trend, people like yourself will just go along with it and defend him like as if someone was attacking your Mom. Get off it already. If it’s makes it to production and you get one then Woo Hoo for you and if it don’t then Too Bad So Sad. Who cares? Oh, 25,000 people do. Having heaver hitters don’t guarantee you that your going to win the ball game. Here today gone tommorrow, you see that all over the place. I got tired of Elio a long time ago. Just wanted another laugh. Hee Hee or Ha Ha. What ever…

      • Larry Larrabee

        What scares me if they set back the date , and people with a refundabke reservation , will want there money back , which is starting to happen now, that will prolong it even longer , for those with a non refundable reservations

        • Tom Buyea — Fla.News service

          Aren’t all or at least the $1,000 all ins, In with a no refund contract ?

    • Tom Buyea — Fla.News service

      It seems to me they should have used an existing engine and transmission, Possibly a water cooled motorcycle engine or other very small car engine at least to be able to start production, Many small cars are already very efficient and the Elio’s light weight and streamlined design will give it great mileage especially at 65 to 75 MPH compared to other small square cars !

  • hambdiscus

    The Elio will never hit the market for anywhere near the rumored $7000 price tag. It is doubtful whether it will hit the market at all.

    Polaris is not a company run by idealists and if they market a 3-wheeler, very spartan and with rear wheel drive (rear drive is significantly easier and cheaper to engineer/build) and feel that a $20,000 price is profitable, then how can Mr. Elio promise a much more sophisticated design for 1/3 the price?

    • Just saying

      Rear wheel drive is apparently easier and cheaper to make which is why most cars on the road are front wheel drive. That’s more true when you get to the very cheapest cars.

      If you even bothered to look into the Elio, you’d understand how he’s making the vehicle inexpensive… half as wide, half the materials, using existing parts, engine designed to be inexpensive. The engine will probably put out fewer than 60hp which also means it is simple and inexpensive. The car has no rear window, no expensive rear wheel drive setup, only one door, one set of door hinges, one door lock… the list goes on and on. There is a chance that Elio can make their profit selling CAFE credits alone. With 25,000 pre-order already and a plant that already has an automobile production line set up in it, they are set to hit the ground running. Yes, there are challenges but they are quite open to what those challenges are and you can read all about them from their website or any number of forums that keep track of progress. Yes, I’m a fan of the company so there is no reason to shoot daggers this way. I’m really hoping that the low cost, enclosed cabin, 84mpg (again, half as wide, very light weight, very aerodynamic), three wheeler makes it big… imagine if it got really popular, copied in spirit, and sold (including knock offs from others) in the order of hundreds of thousands a year. How would America come out if suddenly, industry wide, the average fuel consumption dropped a lot. I, for one, would like to see the US less dependent on oil imports. I believe that the Elio is a great step in the right direction and I think they are making good progress. Will there be no more delays? Who knows? But, give someone a chance to drive a $6,800 brand new vehicle getting 84 mpg vs. a decade old Camry and you’ll make a difference both to that person’s wallet and to the good old US of A! Go, go, Elio!

      • Dino

        I completely agree. Elio has the best business plan I have ever heard. It takes time to build new company and car. Even the biggest comapnies can’t get a new car model off the ground in 5 years. If the Elio car is late, I think the loyal followers are understanding. How many other companies have have $5.5 million (only counting the $1000 all in payers) without producing a final product? Many start-ups, are new technology driven, Elio is not. It surprises me how the media loves Tesla (at $100K per car) but shoots down a new $7K car. Go Elio!- and I am eager but willing to wait for the car to be right.

        Made in America
        85% American parts
        No haggle pricing
        $7K sticker
        84 mpg
        5 star safety rating
        Great design inside and out

        Great standard features
        Buy only the additional options you want
        800 Service centers
        $25,000 people have put money down, almost 6,000 put $1000 each.

        I have no doubt – it will be a hit, copied, and exported around the world.

        One more tip: if it was a scam, and they are cash strapped, then why would they not let us pre-pay the whole thing? They won’t. It is a bad article with little facts.

        • Bob

          I have a deposit down, love the Louisiana connection and really want to believe. I live in France and both my cars combined have 98 horsepower and i do fine on the big highways. I cannot buy the 84 MPG. I never had a motorcycle come close and my 125cc Vespa can only get 65 MPG. A motorcycle at 1/2 the weight and same HP is lucky to break 50 MPG. I don’t think you can buy a 900cc motorcycle for less than $8,000. I am pulling for them.

        • ClLy

          I believe the highway is 84 but the city is just under 50mpg if I read correctly

        • Tom Buyea — Fla.News service

          Motorcycles without a fairing are very un-streamlined and have a lot of wind resistance drag.

        • appalled

          A Prius is not a motorcycle with 1/2 the weight and horsepower and it gets more than 50mpg. The concept is very doable but it will never see the road.

        • AZ

          5 star rating not proven.
          84 mpg also not proven
          Hit? Copied? Like Elio copying the Messerschmitt?

        • RIMSPOKE





        • Tom Buyea — Fla.News service

          Obama gave Tesla 50 or 100 million to build $100,000 cars for the rich, How can the gov not fund the Elio, I know they just Don’t do it, That is why we need to replace all the bums in the USA gov. as soon as possible !

        • Dan Ashley

          Seriously, you think it’s a good plan? There is no accounting for warranty costs, R&D costs, litigation, GS&A. Elio Motors has never had an advertisement or outreach for employees…and it still has now workin final prototype. The materials needed for construction of the vehicle nearly match the revenues from each vehicle sold…there is very little left for manufacturing salary. Yeah, the spreadsheets show money for labor, but the also heavily discount the cost of materials and components.

      • Dan Ashley

        They can’t sell CAFE credits. The Elio is a motorcycle by law. CAFE credits do not accrue to motorcycles.

        • Just saying

          There is still a chance the Fed Gvt will allow CAFE credits as the Elio will be a direct car replacement that gets significantly better mileage than the cars it would replace which is, after all, the purpose of the CAFE credits in the first place – to encourage the production and purchase of more fuel efficient vehicles.

        • AZ

          No there is no chance. If they allow Elio to sell credits, Elio will be forced to meet automotive standards. Don’t you think Polaris would have tried this already? Elio classified as a motorcycle for a reason, they don’t have to meet the standards. If there were a chance this would happen, BMW would have pushed for this long ago.
          As a $1k “All IN’ depositor (April 2013), I realize the likelyhood of this being built is very slim. A lot of people know better, but they want this to happen so badly they ignore the harsh realities. They don’t have the money. Since Paul Elio starting pushing this thing in January 2013, they have only raised $55m, or just over $3m a month. It will take 48 months to raise that kind of capital (based on Elio history).
          The delays, the lack of funding, the claims before ANY testing, ANY wind tunnel work tells me they have not thought this through.
          People forget, Elio did not release how many depositors they had, changed their mind. only all in’s counted, next, well any deposit. So those 25k deposits, I doubt it, they have given me no reason to believe them. I think Paul Elio is a good man, but in over his head. A year away from THEIR (ELIO) production date and short $145m. WAKE UP!!

        • Kathryn Burnett

          If they have 25000 deposits at a average say $1000., $500. $100. = $1600. divided by 3 would =$533. this would =$13,325,000.00 already in deposits which is a great start on building the Elio.

        • Tom Buyea — Fla.News service

          I do Not know why front wheel drive ever started, Much Much more complicated, They used to say it was to get rid of the hump in the middle of the floor, But then they started putting a counsel in the middle and no front seat bench seats anyway ?

        • Tom Buyea — Fla.News service

          The Elio will Not be much of a first Date or any other Date car (;^((
          But it could help reduce the over population problem !!

        • appalled

          Why front wheel? What rock do you live under? Have you ever left Florida? For that matter even left your house?

        • Tom Buyea — Fla.News service

          Well if there is a reason for front wheel drive on 4 wheel cars then explain ?
          Especially because many good cars are still rear wheel drive, Chrysler, Corvette, Cadillac etc. The cost of redesigning and tooling up a sideways engine, Transmission, front wheel drive system with universal joints (was extreme) that need to turn much farther side to side than the ones on rear wheel drive shafts and that type universal joint uses up much power and wears out quickly, We have all heard front wheel drive cars make a racket with the front universals clacking away when they get worn out, Much unneeded mechanical equipment for no reason, Unless you are racing on a dirt track or something !
          Yes I am a trained auto mechanic, Before I became an Aircraft mechanic. and then Electrical Engineer, Bring it on appalled, I am appalled at your lack of knowledge !!