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Elio, Scoop or Scam?

Does anyone besides me see any RED FLAGS in the Elio Motors Hype?
I’m sorry, but when something sound too good to be true…
What’s got me thinking that this may be an opportunity ala Bernie Madoff is the “Reserve yours now for a small ($1,000, $500, $250, or $100) NON-REFUNDABLE***” deposit.
It seems to me that any number of ‘unforeseen’ problems (not the least of them the inability of Elio Motors to come up with sufficient capital to start production) might occur which could scuttle the entire venture (like many prior dream machines) leaving the " Pre Registered depositors" holding empty bags.
Again I ask, “Is it just me”?

Never heard of elio.
I’ll have to research.
Maybe like the Wankel rotary ? different, sure enough. but better ?

I see it’s just an enclosed 3wheel motorcycle.
Body work and tandem seating reworked around a three wheeled motorcycle.
fine, if you want one of those.
just an adaptation. With a very limited customer base that will soon be saturated.

What’s the potential scam here ?
Guy want’s to start a company to build and sell these.
People are investing.
Will it fly ?

Well, scam implies criminal intent. For Elio Motors, I prefer the word “boondoggle.”

I’ve heard of them and place them in the same category as the Persu Mobility vehicle which is a new name for the VV1 which was a copy of the Carver. Lot of hype and in the case of Persu and VV1 absolutely nothing to show for it; not even a prototype. There has been nothing but years of BS behind the Persu and as far as I know, Carver is done for too.

Maybe Ron Popiel can sell it. Otherwise it seems a loser.

Most of these things are designed to do one thing; suck in deposit money, venture capital, and government (a.k.a.) taxpayer funds and when the figurative smoke clears nothing will have been accomplished.

A cut and paste…

As Elio reaches certain benchmarks, the state will inject certain incentives," Epperson said. “So, the state has a total package of $150,000,000.”

As expected, “The company has also applied for a $185 million advanced vehicle development loan from the U.S. Department of Energy.”

As a three wheeler it doesn’t have to meet car safety standards. How many extra deaths are 84 mpg worth?

I like the idea. There’s a place in the market for an ultra low cost basic mode of all weather transport, and this looks like a viable option. It’s true that it can’t be as crashworthy as a modern Buick, but hey, my '61 Beetle wasn’t as crashworthy as a '61 Buick either. IMHO it’s about time that we allowed others whose needs might be different from ours to enjoy life too, and stop trying to force them to live up to our personal standards. Besides, it looks a heck of a lot safer than a CanAm trike. The lower center of gravity and longer wheelbase should make it more stable. And with good lighting it should be safer than a traditional motorcycle too.

If it succeeds, it might even be considered evidence that perhaps there always has been a need for truly inexpensive basic all-weather transportation but we’ve regulated it out of existence in the realm of actual cars. Perhaps it’s our regulatory environment that needs a good look-see.

But I don’t think private enterprises should be funded by tax dollars unless the work they’re doing is for the government. That applies to Elio as well as GM. If the venture is viable from a business standpoint, capital should be available via the venture capitalists and/or the financial institutions. And that applies to GM also.

Enclosed 3-wheeled vehicles are nothing new, though more often with the single wheel in front. The UK had the Reliant Robin for decades. There was one here ten or fifteen years ago that I saw a few of on the streets. The Elio looks a lot better than any of those did, but costs more. They may have hired a real designer, as it certainly looks more like a car than most of these things do. Having the engine in front is unusual and gives it a more carlike stance. Would I buy it? Hmmm. Not as my only car, but it would be very useful for running errands in the city. Easy to park, likely to be OK at city street speeds.

However, like many, I have my doubts about Elio’s viability. They’re even building their own engines. Why? So they can bigger credits from the government? It looks like an ordinary 1 liter 3 cylinder engine. These are common all over the world, if rare in the US. They should be able to buy their engines from any number of makers. OK, they aren’t in the US and that would lower their domestic content percentage substantially.

I don t get the criticism for building their own engines. it will eventually increase profit if they succeed.

What kind of mileage could be squeezed from a Crosley if it was built with current EFI technology?

And if the key to the Elio’s hoped for success is its avoidance of safety standards we might need to have a closer look at the standards.

Just a few examples of similar concepts that never won over the world.
Corbin Sparrow, at least this one got built and sold;

Aptera: Died in development, SUPER good looking though;

Campagna Motors, BMW or Harley powered,

You have been able to buy 3 wheeled “cars” for about 100 years. None are revolutionary nor have been massive sales successes. But they are FUN!

Now if we want to talk about scammers; Google the Dale, or the Vector

There are several versions of these things buzzing around as 3-wheeled motorcycles…For just a few dollars more, you can buy an econo-car with 4 wheels on the ground…The Elio will be still-born…

This one has always been my favorite.

Caddyman, for anywhere near the price anticipated for a brand new Elio, all you can get is a well-worn used car, the reliability of which is questionable.

Elio Motors talks a lot about long trips in their car, but it looks more like a city car to me. City mileage is listed at 49 MPG; about half the highway mileage. Those are estimates, and the EPA/DoE will have a better estimate for comparisons to other vehicles. Still, it could be a good alternative for commuting and small street parking spaces. Their business model is not far off from crowd sourcing. Anyone willing to reserve a car is no different that those that’s reserved Teslas. Except they are paying a higher percentage of the MSRP than Tesla buyers were.

Other than the fact that the Elio has been done already with no success another stumbling block might be pointed out.
Most states classify this as a motorcycle and many require helmets. How many commuters are going to want to wear a helmet? Very, very few IMO.

California was going to make an exception to the helmet rule so that’s why the VV1/Persu (pipe dream and/or scam) was going to be offered for sale there.

It looks legit to me. They give you a real street address and phone number (tool free and local) on the web site. That is usually a great way to spot the scams. They also have show and tell events that started August 11 in MI, and there should be information about the 2 events that occurred already.

It’s no outright scam. Instead I wonder if it’s a subsidy a scam, soaking up our tax $$ and later going belly up.

+1 to @texases, Ding Ding Ding, I think we have a winner!

The creator of the Elio probably unrealistically believes in his product. So will states and counties desperately seeking manufacturing jobs. All to their likely detriment. Maybe he’s not a scammer, but may appear so after the collapse.

A scam is a scam. Someone has to have ill intent for anything to be a real scam. Any new business, especially one with a niche idea like this one, is high risk.