Expect to start seeing a flurry of ads from start-up automaker Elio Motors pitching the company’s unusual, three-wheeled model it plans to start selling for a base price of $6,800.
That is, of course, subject to a few caveats. For one thing, the Elio two-seater won’t go on sale until “late 2016,” the company says. And even that target date is a big if, company founder Paul Elio acknowledged during an interview at the L.A. Auto Show last November, noting that he has yet to come close to raising the capital needed to put the 84-mpg vehicle into production.
It appears one of the goals of the new national ad campaign is to not just get more folks to place reservations on the Elio website, but also to use any new burst of interest to help convince potential lenders and investors to come onboard.
“We are on a mission to change the world, and sharing our message with as many people as possible is an important objective to our long-term success,” the founder of the eponymous Elio Motors said. “Our grassroots and digital efforts have helped create a strong – almost rabid – enthusiasm for our vehicle. As our funding situation continues to make progress, we are now in a position to share our message and create more fans through this national advertising campaign.”
(Elio opens stock offering to public. For more, Click Here.)
Elio’s financial situation has improved since November, no question. The company is one of the first to take advantage of the new Regulation A+ rules created by the U.S. Jobs Act of 2012, so far raising $16 million. That’s more than the goal to fund the testing of its E-series prototype, the first to use an engine specifically developed for the unusual little mileage-miser.
The company has used a series of non-traditional steps to raise cash, including crowdsourcing. It is now targeting a long-idled fund created by the Obama Administration that was tapped by Tesla Motors and others. Aimed at alternative energy companies, it was all but shut down after a handful of embarrassing failures, such as the bankruptcy of Fisker Motors.
Elio still has a lot of cash to come up with in order to take over an old General Motors plant in Shreveport, Louisiana, but the latest funding campaign suggests there could be light at the end of this tunnel. And gaining still more reservations would certainly boost morale, if not momentum.
With 30- and 60-second spots, the new ad campaign, dubbed “Own the Future,” shows the company’s current P4 prototype, which made its debut at the L.A. Auto Show last autumn.
(Click Here for for more on Elio’s LA Auto Show news conference.)
Founder and CEO Elio, explains a company release, “talks about his vision to alter the course of society by creating a low-cost, highly fuel-efficient vehicle unlike anything on the road today. Elio’s goal is to strengthen American manufacturing, create American jobs, provide access to low-cost mobility for millions of people and reduce our overall oil consumption.”
Elio has plans to employ 1,500 workers at the Shreveport plant, with 1,500 more jobs opening up at suppliers. Indirect employment would boost the total figure to 18,000 workers, the company forecasts.
From a legal standpoint, the little Elio is actually a motorcycle, albeit one on three wheels and with a wheelbase about as long as a Honda Accord. It features an enclosed cabin in which two passengers will set tandem style.
In an interview, CEO Elio stressed that even though the car would be subject to less stringent rules, the company plans to meet the tougher safety standards – with such technologies as airbags and electronic stability control – a more conventional passenger car must meet under federal law.
(To see more about the series of setbacks Apple’s still-secret car has endured, Click Here.)
It won’t be fast, needing nearly 10 seconds to hit 60 mph, and with a top speed of only a bit over 100 mph. It is likely to be on the noisy side. But it is expected to deliver about 50% better mileage – at a targeted 84 mpg – than the latest-generation Toyota Prius, and with only a gasoline engine under its long, narrow hood.