Elio Motors, the company that wants to sell you an inexpensive, fuel-efficient three-wheeled commuter car, has taken a big step towards that dream. It now looks like it will have a factory roof under which to assemble its 84-mile-per-gallon, $6,800 offering, thanks to the Caddo Parish Industrial Development Board (IDB).

Elio Motors vehicle sketchThe local government agency has officially completed the purchase of the former General Motors Shreveport Assembly and Stamping Plant from RACER Trust (Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response Trust) or, as it is often referred to, "Old GM." IBD will lease a 1.5-million square foot portion of the 4.1-million sq. ft. building through intermediary Industrial Realty Group.

The arrangement was not without controversy. One commissioner objected to the plan strongly enough to launch a lawsuit to stop it. An injunction put in place has since been lifted, clearing the way for money from the parish's Reserve Trust and the Oil and Gas funds to be used in the purchase.

Production is now said to begin in early 2015, supplying up to 1,500 jobs for area residents. When – and, we should skeptically add, if – the cars start coming off the line they will not look exactly as they've have been pictured up till now. The company's blog shows its fourth prototype, now under construction, which has integrated the headlights completely into the body to improve aerodynamics and lowered the beltline to increase outward visibility.

The company optimistically hopes to eventually sell 250,000 units a year and is now taking $100 reservations on its website. As of December, the company said it has 6,342 hand raisers. For more details on this most recent development, scroll below for the official press release.
Show full PR text
Elio Motors Set to Begin Operations of Former GM Plant in Caddo Parish

Troy, Mi. (Jan. 6, 2013) – Elio Motors has taken the next step in its plan to manufacture its 3-wheel vehicles and bring 1,500 jobs back to the facility just southwest of Shreveport. The Caddo Parish Industrial Development Board (IDB) completed its purchase of the former General Motors Shreveport Assembly and Stamping Plant, allowing Elio Motors to progress in their manufacturing timeline.

Elio Motors will rent approximately 1.5 million square feet of the 4.1 million square foot building from Industrial Realty Group, who leases the building from the IDB. IRG will seek a tenant or tenants for the 2.6 million remaining square feet of the building, which may include suppliers for Elio Motors.

"This has been an extremely exciting week not just for me personally, but for the entire Elio Motors team. We've had an incredible amount of momentum which has led us to a new plant that will be the foundation for building the new vehicle," said Paul Elio, CEO and founder of Elio Motors. "Plus, we also raised over $7 million to help us move forward. My dream has been to build a new kind of safe, reliable, fuel-efficient vehicle here in the United States, and Caddo Parish was the ideal location. Acquiring this plant and all of the equipment in a fully operational state will allow Elio Motors to thrive right off the bat once commercial vehicle production begins in 2015. This deal would not have been possible without the support and confidence shown by RACER Trust. I am very grateful to the Caddo Parish community for their support in addition to IRG and the State of Louisiana, and I look forward to a prosperous future for our company and the people with whom we will grow and flourish."

"This is a great day for Elio Motors and all those who ultimately will benefit from this venture, especially the local residents who will have tremendous new job opportunities," said Stuart Lichter, President and Chairman of IRG, a national leader in industrial redevelopment. "It's rare to find an industrial building in such excellent condition, and the location could not be better. The possibilities here are endless, including the great opportunity to bring in other companies, perhaps even suppliers, to the site. The future for us here is very bright."

Mr. Elio said he expects his company to begin commercial vehicle production in first quarter 2015, with significant hiring at the Caddo Parish facility to begin by the fourth quarter of 2014 and full employment to be reached in late 2015.

Though the Elio's design is unique, the vehicles will be manufactured using over 90 percent North American content and as many existing and proven parts as possible. The company has been accepting pre-orders on its website and touring the country to showcase the prototype.

The former GM Shreveport Assembly and Stamping Plant was built in 1981 and most recently expanded in 2002. The property also includes a 1.5 million-square-foot paint shop; an on-site powerhouse and wastewater treatment facility; a rail spur; and 530 acres of land.

GM production at the Shreveport Assembly and Stamping Plant ceased on August 28, 2012. GM produced more than 4.8 million vehicles, mostly light-duty pickup trucks, at the facility, which was among the properties the former General Motors Corp. relinquished as part of its 2009 bankruptcy proceedings. The "new" General Motors had continued operations at the Shreveport plant under a lease with the RACER Trust.

###

About Elio Motors: Founded by car enthusiast Paul Elio in 2008, Elio Motors Inc. represents a revolutionary approach to manufacturing an ultra-high-mileage vehicle. The three-wheeled Elio will attain a highway mileage rating of more than 80 mpg while providing the comfort of power windows and air conditioning, accompanied by the safety of multiple air bags and an aerodynamic, enclosed vehicle body. Elio's first manufacturing site will be in Shreveport, La., with plans for the first production vehicle to roll off assembly lines in 2014 and significant production, sales and distribution of the Elio during the next two years. For more information, visit www.eliomotors.com.

About Industrial Realty Group (IRG): IRG is a nationwide real estate development and investment firm specializing in the acquisition, development and management of commercial and industrial real estate throughout the United States. IRG's portfolio contains over 100 properties in 25 states with over 80 million square feet under its ownership. IRG is nationally recognized as a leading force behind the adaptive reuse of commercial and industrial real estate, solving some of America's most difficult real estate challenges. For more information, visit http://www.industrialrealtygroup.com.


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  • 70 Comments
      • 1 Year Ago
      i will buy one without ever seeing one...and you can take your walk around while am in the store.
      • 1 Year Ago
      A new thought has arisen that gives me another question, that gives way to more questions. If this thing has AC, then it's charging unit is going to have to put out a lot of juice, and that means all the lights are going to have to be LEDs as AC is a power hog, and down here in the sunshine state, 87% of people with AC are going to use it, that means more power from the drive train is going to be used up on power generation and fuel economy is going to take a serious hit on that little 250cc engine and so is performance, even if it is turbocharged.
        • 1 Year Ago
        Geo metro didn't have a problem... and this has half the interior ... .and the IAV engine inside is based upon this engine with a lot of improvements
        • 1 Year Ago
        250cc motor? It has a 3cyl,1litre engine
      Bryan Lund
      • 1 Year Ago
      Wow! Thank you guys for your comments and thank you, RDeckard, for the YouTube reference. I'm now fairly interested in this autocycle getting production started up. I'm not against trying new things and this would really be a new thing for me. I don't trust motorcycle highway riding, I would buy a sturdy motorcycle for off-road riding. These are starting ta sound viable and the wait for good all-electrics that are affordable is taking way too long. I gotta go - I have a lot of research ta do on this pup. I am starting to actually get excited. Hey, any car nuts out there that are not motorcycle nuts that are starting ta get truly excited about this new autocycle? Again, thank you guys, I now am starting ta understand your excitement over this!
      Mart
      • 1 Year Ago
      At the plant that used to make Hummer H3s...
      brotherkenny4
      • 1 Year Ago
      This looks like a nice glider for a home built EV.
        BipDBo
        • 1 Year Ago
        @brotherkenny4
        You could buy one of these and an electric motorcycle, and mate the two. Would be a cheap build. Perhaps you could even make a deal to get the motorcycle drivetrain only, no wheels, seat, suspension, etc. In this case, though, it may make more sense to make it RWD, or even keep the gas engine and make it a through the road hybrid? Locating the batteries would be tricky. There are a few people building EVs right now using the $10 Factory 5 818 kit.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 1 Year Ago
        @brotherkenny4
        Definitely. ~80mpg is still sweet though. I wouldn't mind operating it on gasoline for a while if i owned one.
      • 1 Year Ago
      All the negative comments. Don't let it distract you, Team Elio! While others wring their hands and prognosticate about why it won't work you are moving ahead!
      jeff
      • 1 Year Ago
      Insurance should be cheap. Death benefits are typically a fraction of settlements for life long injuries. I don't see walking away from any collision above 10 mph. All for the sake of a few buck in fuel. Silly humans.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @jeff
        You're not paying attention to the Five-Star crash rating... Naysayers everywhere; it's OK...I've put down my "I'm All In" deposit, and expect to wave at y'all as I drive over 650 miles per 8 gallons of gas.
      Bryan Lund
      • 1 Year Ago
      I find this Elio-car idea ta be somewhat appealing. I'm gonna go to eliomotors.com and do some research on it in more depth. The ghastly savings is phenomenal but I'm a bit concerned about safety in this thing. I think it could work out safety-wise but I wanna see how they build this thing. Gonna have ta have some really, really effective crumple-zone manufacturing going on or some other really effective way of protecting the driver and their passenger. I think they could pull this off but I'm not gonna lie to you baby, I've never seen one of these designs built effectively for human consumption yet.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Bryan Lund
        http://youtu.be/ZFAb_iEK2Pk check out this video on Elio Motors youtube... it shows the safety features and the crumple zones. Using the same simulation software the big car guys use it is projected to have an Auto 5 star safety rating... pretty sweet
      Bryan Lund
      • 1 Year Ago
      I just typed in elio motors on YouTube and watched a few videos. This thing needs the investment support of somebody, that is, if Paul Elio needs it, or could use it. I think this one looks ta be a winner. I don't see an all-electric coming along for a while that will go far enough for me and cost low enough for that ta be a viable option. I already own the vehicle I love, a 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS. It has an automatic CVT transmission and is sporty and fairly economic. But I think I could make room in my driveway for an Elio of my own. I might opt for the 6-speed manual tranny for my Elio and it would be so cool ta open it's cylinders up on the open road. New Mexico has a lot of open road action goin' on, too!
      • 1 Year Ago
      I just got to see the elio today at a Car show in North Scottsdale AZ at Horse World it is real made rock solid Im 235 pounds 6 foot i have a big chest and i had a lotta of room in it and it dont move a inch when i got in it It is real solid and it will have a 5 safety crash rating I get will one than are just $6,800 dolllars
      Bryan Lund
      • 1 Year Ago
      m.cobler - can you fit two (driver + 1 passenger) in this rig?
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Bryan Lund
        Yep two quite comfortably in my opinion.. my son is 6'2 and I 5"11 200Lbs and you just don't know how big this autocycle is until you see it in person and sit in it... you don't wear it like a fighter-pilot. It is like half a car inside
      Aaron
      • 1 Year Ago
      *modifies
        Domenick
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Aaron
        Thanks, Aaron. And now I'm off to discuss the dangers of editors modifying headlines of writers. :)
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