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Elio Motors is in an 'engineering-centric' phase, says founder

Kate Archer Kent

Detroit-based Elio Motors says it’s on track to begin producing its three-wheeled vehicle a little over a year from now in the former Shreveport General Motors plant. Founder Paul Elio told Red River Radio that 25 prototypes are under construction in Detroit as the company enters into the product testing phase.  Elio said the main focus now is on engineering the vehicle.

“It’s a teeter-totter, and right now it’s engineering-centric and most of the action is in Detroit because that’s where the supply base is. As we get closer to 2014, it will become manufacturing-centric and the center of gravity will be in Caddo Parish," Elio said.

Elio wouldn’t elaborate on the company’s financial position. He did say his capital plan is on track and that the decision by Caddo Parish Commissioners to buy the old GM plant was a win for Elio Motors, which will lease space in the facility. Elio acknowledged that he must defy the odds to get this vehicle on the market.

"The hard part for us is to convince people that we’re going to make it all the way through. A lot of people have tried to start new vehicle companies and a lot of have failed, and that really works against us," Elio said.

Meanwhile, he’s taking his prototype across the country for press events and public displays. He says 3,300 people have signed up to preorder his three-wheeler, which is slated to get 84 miles per gallon and cost $6,800.

Chuck Smith brings more than 30 years' experience to Red River Radio having started out as a radio news reporter and moving into television journalism as a newsmagazine producer / host, talk-show moderator, programming director and managing producer and news director / anchor for commercial, public broadcasting and educational television. He has more recently worked in advertising, marketing and public relations as a writer, video producer and media consultant. In pursuit of higher learning, Chuck studied Mass Communications at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and motion picture / television production at the University of California at Los Angeles. He has also taught writing for television at York Technical College in Rock Hill, South Carolina and video / film production at Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport.
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