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NBC 6 – Exclusive Look Inside the Plant

Paul Elio: Build it and they will come

By Dan Jovic. October 3, 2014.

SOURCE: KTAL NBC 6

 

You’ve seen the car. You know its gas mileage. But exactly how will Elio Motors build it’s three-wheeled vehicle here in Shreveport?

Stepping inside the old General Motors Plant in Shreveport is a little odd,

“It’s kinda eerie … kinda like there should be … like ghosts of workers here,” said Paul Elio, the man who is breathing new life into the facility.

The process has begun, and Paul Elio believes by this time next year, Elio Motors will be producing vehicles right here in Caddo Parish

“With the team that we’ve assembled,” Elio said, “it’s not that different than one of the big guys doing it.
Elio Motors is really a confederate of suppliers. Right, that’s really the magic of Elio Motors.”

The word efficiency seems to be driving everything going on here, to which Elio says, “That is the objective … even on the vehicle architecture .. .it comes standard wth air conditioning, power windows, power door locks and stereo,” he says.

 

“Part of the reason cars cost so much is the package system. If you look around your vehicle I guarantee you can identify, 2, 3, 4,000 dollars of stuff you didn’t want. (Things) you were forced to buy to get the stuff you did want. It’s content gone wild.”

Elio’s solution to that problem is to have options available – quickly.

“So if you want the power leather seat, Lear is the third largest seatng manufacturer in the world. We have that. If you want the blind spot detecting mirrors. we have that,” adding, “So at 10 am the next day, you get the vehicle the exact way you wanted it the day before.”

The car’s engine is made by the same development team that designs engines for Mercedez and BMW, only smaller and more efficient; its body, constructed the way a corvette or Viper is, but once again, more efficient.

“So we have a full, welded-together roll cage, and then we are using structural adhesive to attach the panels,” Elio says.

“These are companies that everybody knows throughout the world. Like you said that pedigree, it lends credence, it lends credibility to what you are doing,” he continues.  “…It’s a real stamp of approval, because these companies don’t like small companies and they don’t like start-ups.  Right, so if I got one or two of them, that would have been impressive; but to have 34 world class companies helping me do this, it’s a real validation of the idea.”

The car’s body panels will be built by another company, but they’ll set up shop in Shreveport because of Elio. The supplier of the vehicles’ seats and fuel systems are considering the same.

 

Build it, and they will come…Elio’s done that.

Directly and indirectly by this project, Elio says 10,500 jobs will be created.  He says there are around 70,000 households in Caddo Parrish, meaning Elio Motors will have an impact on one out of seven households.

Regarding former GM workers, Elio says some have left the community, and others have found meaningful work, but the majority are either underemployed or unemployed, but added, “they still know how to build vehicles.” So, when Elio is ready to start up, he says, “We have a trained workforce in place, ready to come back.”

Elio is not only the project’s creator, he’s its head cheerleader and a true believer: “This project has to happen; it’s too important. The product is compelling. But the project (itself) is what’s it’s really about.  As a project, we can reduce total U.S. gas consumption by nearly a half percent after five years of sales … right … that’s a meaningful number.  Whether your biggest concern is our trade deficit due to foreign oil, or our carbon footprint. The objective is the same. Use less oil.  Right … and we can move the needle better than anybody on that.”

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