Elio Motors Announces Yet Another Delay, Now Faces Fines

The engine for the Elio car was supposed to unveil tomorrow, but in a hasty email to supporters last night and a press release this morning, Paul Elio said that that unveiling will be delayed. It will be rescheduled for a date “to be announced.”

The delay, says Elio, is due to an unforeseen scheduling conflict some of the key participants (suppliers, we suspect) had with a February 6th date. “We are currently working with the key partners and the facility to quickly confirm a new date and will advise you accordingly,” said the email.

At this point, the Elio car should be called the Delaymobile, since it has yet to make an appointment. This latest delay follows one announced in mid-January for the car itself, which was slated to enter production this year. That delay had followed a similar one the year before, another a couple of years before that.. You get the idea.

The dubious financials of the company, failure to secure a federal loan, and other problems have meant that the many people who’ve plopped down $100 or $1,000 in non-refundable deposits to get in line for an Elio may have put their cash into a sieve instead of a bucket. Their best hope is the Department of Energy, which has cleared Elio in the first of three steps towards gaining a $185 million loan. The second step, however, is the toughest and requires that the company prove their project works and that it’s viable as a business proposition. Even if the third step, which is penning the actual loan agreement, is passed and Elio gets the loan, it doesn’t all come in one lump sum. Which means Elio may still have trouble securing enough funds to get the Caddo assembly plant running and a workforce in place to begin production.

Now for a new monkey wrench: when the deal was cut to sell the shuttered GM plant to Caddo Parish and then lease it to a development company through which Elio now leases its share of the facility, another side deal was given. That deal was that Elio would employ the 1,500 people it promised to hire. If they didn’t do that, they’d have to pay a penalty of $5,000 per job, which amounts to about $7.5 million for all 1,500. The due date for that? February 1, 2015. This is according to a local news report by KSLA News.

Aaron Turpen
An automotive enthusiast for most of his adult life, Aaron has worked in and around the industry in many ways. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press (RMAP), the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA), the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA), and freelances as a writer and journalist around the Web and in print. You can find his portfolio at AaronOnAutos.com.