Flint graduate aims to make 84 mpg, three-wheel cars — and sell for $6,800
on August 20, 2015 at 12:00 PM, updated August 20, 2015 at 6:40 PM
FLINT, MI – It was 1995 when Paul Elio graduated from General Motors Institute, now Kettering University, with a dream: Creating his own car.
“I wanted to be a part of the auto industry and GMI was the way to do that,” he said.
Now, Elio says he’s closer to launching a vehicle that gets 84 mpg — and he plans to market it for sale at $6,800.
You read that right.
Elio is founder and CEO of Elio Motors, the start-up company that plans to produce the vehicle some call a “game-changer.”
The cost difference of Elio’s car from most typical cars is due to several factors, including its three-wheel design. The car can only seat two people and its size is half that of a typical car (the passenger’s seat is behind the driver). The 84 mpg is “simple physics,” according to Elio Motors website.
“Our market, it spans from a 16-year-old’s first car to the high-end executive who has a beautiful Escalade,” Elio said.
The car is not yet in production and Elio is still looking for investors. But with support from suppliers from the Detroit-area and a factory ready to be staffed in Shreveport, Louisiana, Elio expects the car to be in production in 2016, predicated on funding.
The car has a lot of backers, including nearly 45,000 reservations on the vehicle itself, he said.
“People reserve a vehicle in part because they like the product and in part because they believe in what we’re doing,” he said.
Elio believes he’s going to create a four-part market for the vehicle, including:
- The market of those looking for new cars
- Those looking to purchase a used car
- Those looking to get rid of a clunker vehicle, but can’t afford a good used vehicle
- A secondary vehicle to go along with a bigger vehicle
“This vehicle is unusual in that we can sell it to the entry-level guys and the high-level guys,” he said, adding they could each have different uses for it.
Elio, who is now based in Phoenix, had a long road of many different jobs and career paths before realizing that he wanted to join the auto industry and saw GMI as a way to do that.
“The educational experience there was phenomenal,” he said. “I can’t believe it hasn’t been replicated.”
Ken Way, a former Kettering University Board of Trustee member and board member on Elio Motors, said he sees Elio’s passion for this project and believes it’s a game-changer in the auto industry.
“The product is what really caught my attention,” Way said. “It’s just something this country needs and it’s so simple it’s ridiculous.”
Way, a former CEO of the Lear Corporation, said he knows plenty of people in the industry that are excited about the product and can’t wait until the capital is raised to put the product into full-time production.
“The product is unbelievable and we just want to get it in production,” he said. “It’s so simple and good for people who want another car. You can buy some two wheel bikes without power for $5,000 now.”