The little three-wheeled car that could is actually coming to America’s roadways as expected in the fourth quarter of this year. Well, 100 of the preproduction models are anyway, although most of those won’t hit tarmac until next year.
Elio Motors announced in its most recent public filing that it plans to sell 100 of its preproduction models so it can generate cash for the company and get some real-world testing for the three-wheelers that are expected to get up to 84 mpg. The purchase price for these cars was not revealed.
The company, which recently completed its first public stock offering raising more than $25 million, said during the Los Angeles Motor Show in November that it would begin deliveries of the car, which is going to be built in a former General Motors plant in Shreveport, Louisiana, in the fourth quarter of this year.
“Elio Motors is ecstatic to announce that we are taking a major step forward in our development of the Elio,” said Elio Motors founder and CEO Paul Elio. “We now intend to sell the first 100 pre-production vehicles built to one or more fleet customers, rather than use them for internal purposes as previously disclosed in our offering statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
“This will help us generate additional revenue, it will allow us to evaluate vehicles under real-world driving conditions and it will allow our supplier team to refine our design.”
The company plans to use the feedback it gets from the fleet models to allow its new engineering partner, Roush, improve the vehicle’s driving characteristics. Based in Livonia, Michigan, Roush was named as the company’s primary engineering services firm last week. It provides a variety of engineering support services to auto companies around the world, including Ford Motor Co.
(Elio opens stock offering to the public. For more, Click Here.)
The move marks another step forward in the progress of the Elio, but it also marks another half step backward as the company once again delayed the production date for the finished product. The company was founded in 2009.
Elio Motors has been collecting deposits on the cars, which are expected to sell for around $6,800, for more than a year and currently has a list of 50,000 people who have averaged more than $400 each on their deposits and are waiting on their car.
“As we have stated in the past, building an ultra-low cost, high efficient vehicle for the masses is not an easy task. It takes solid engineering and supplier partnerships, which we have, and substantial funding, on which we continue to make progress,” Elio said.
(Click Here for details about Elio Motors national advertising campaign.)
“We recently had a successful stock offering, which showed there is investment interest and enthusiasm for this project. We raised significant funds, moving us even closer. Our team will keep fighting to get this done. The key is to not quit, and to continue to move forward toward our goal. We have a number of other financial strategies that we are pursuing relentlessly to help get us to our consumer production launch.”
In addition to bringing Roush on board, Elio Motors has been aggressive in pushing toward production of its Elio vehicle in other areas: Back in November, Elio introduced the P5, its fifth generation prototype, featuring a 0.9 liter, 3-cylinder engine built by IAV specifically for Elio.
In January, Elio Motors said it will begin building its E-Series of prototype vehicles for testing and engineering purposes and the company also launched its first national advertising campaign to help create additional awareness and generate more vehicle reservations.
(To see more about the Elio’s march to production, Click Here.)
Elio Motors reached 50,000 reservations for a place in line to buy the vehicle and last month, Elio Motors became the first organization to raise capital using Regulation A+ and then have its shares (OTCQX:ELIO) publicly traded on the OTCQX Best Market.