The much-hyped, three-wheel Elio has plenty of supporters and perhaps an equal number of detractors. Chalk one up for those who are cynical about the $7,500 car and its heavily touted specs.
According to Louisiana news reports, the previously announced March 2015 production start date at the former GM plant in Shreveport, Louisiana, has been delayed six months until September 2015.
The reason: Company founder Paul Elio has announced a funding delay.
The News-Star newspaper reported Stuart Lichter, an industrial developer leasing the plant, was set to invest $7.5 million in Elio Motors — in conjunction with the purchase of the facility for the same amount by Caddo’s Industrial Development Board.
The proposal was approved in August, but has now been halted.
Elio said he could not start the current round until Lichter’s money was in hand. He said if funding falls into place “unbelievably quickly” there could be no delay. However, if it takes the time he initially allotted, production will be delayed until the second quarter or the third quarter if that funding process takes longer.
According to a report in the News-Star newspaper in Monroe, La., Elio said he’s raised $55 million in private funding to date and that he needs $200 million to get his operation started.
Elio and his team have been marketing the vehicle through a 33-city nationwide tour.
“We have a tremendous amount of momentum and it’s going very well for us,” Elio said.
Lichter said he’s confident Elio Motors will start production next year. “The demand generated for the vehicle is extraordinary.”