Rocket Fuel

Elio Momentum v11 – Breaking the Poverty Cycle

Affordable transportation key to breaking the poverty cycle


Earlier this year, the story of James Robertson pulled at heartstrings across the country. The Detroit resident had a 23-mile commute to his job in suburban Rochester Hills, where he worked for a manufacturing company making a little more than $10 per hour.

Amazingly, he did 21 miles of his 46-mile total commute each day ON FOOT!

People rallied around James. They set up a GoFundMe page and raised more than $300,000 for a new vehicle. It was one of the best feel good stories of the year.

But, how many other James Robertsons are out there? How many people turn down a decent job just because they can’t get there? There must be a lot of people who could benefit from low-cost transportation.

A few months after the Roberson story, we saw this headline in The New York Times:

Transportation Emerges as Crucial to Escaping Poverty.

The article focused on a couple with a young son who were working a variety of part-time jobs while continuing education and internships. One quote from the article:

“The car is key to life in Frederick.”

We agree. We live in a mobile society and the ability to get to and from work can be the difference between a good job and staying on welfare.

But, a vehicle is often out of reach for the average person. The average new vehicle costs more than $31,252, but the average family income is just $52,250.

And the poverty level? It’s $24,250 for a family of four. It’s tough to get even a decent used vehicle at that level.

It’s one of the reasons that Paul Elio launched Elio Motors in the first place. Our customer base is going to be large and diverse and all over the socio-economic spectrum. We know the Elio can be a lifeline for people that need affordable transportation. If someone financed an Elio for five years, the principal would equate to a little more than $110 per month.

Compare that to riding the METRA train in Chicago. A monthly, unlimited ride pass starts at $92, but that’s only a short ride. If you start downtown and head out to suburban Aurora, it can cost nearly $215 a month.

The Elio also will come with a three-year, 36,000-mile warranty. One of the challenges often faced by used vehicle owners is simply keeping their vehicle running. Repairs might pull from – or wipe out – the monthly grocery bill. With the Elio under warranty, owners can have peace of mind that a repair won’t set them back.

The Elio will impact society in many ways – boosting American manufacturing, creating jobs and reducing dependence on foreign oil. But, one of the things we look forward to the most is helping people like James Robertson to make their own lives even better.

Share Button