Elio to sell $100 million in stock; 3-wheeler price raised, production delayed, again (updated)

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Elio Motors prototype at New York Auto Show press conference, Apr 2015

Elio Motors prototype at New York Auto Show press conference, Apr 2015

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Entrepreneur Paul Elio's concept for a simple three-wheeled car that would cost only $6,800 has now been with us for eight years.

During that time, he has shown the car hundreds of times to diverse groups of people, taken tens of thousands of reservations, sold stock in the company, and suggested an EPA fuel-economy rating of 84 mpg highway.

Elio Motors still doesn't have the money to put the car into production, however.

DON'T MISS: Production for Elio 3-wheeler slides to 2018; time running out? (Feb 2017)

The company said in April 2014 that it had taken deposits for more than 15,000 Elios. In July 2015, it said it had raised $22 million through "crowdfunded" small-investor stock sales.

But as The Drive reported on Friday, Elio still needs more than $100 million to launch production of the fuel-efficient three-wheeler.

So the company has filed paperwork with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to launch a secondary public offering of Elio Motors common stock that would raise that amount.

Elio Motors founder Paul Elio at New York Auto Show press conference, Apr 2015

Elio Motors founder Paul Elio at New York Auto Show press conference, Apr 2015

Enlarge Photo

Elio says its current reservation total has risen to 65,000.

The price of the car has risen, too: it's now $7,450, still little more than half the price of a modestly equipped subcompact sedan or hatchback.

Production, originally intended for 2014 or thereabouts, is now to start in 2019 at the earliest, according to the offering documents.

READ THIS: Elio Motors Raises $22 Million From Small Investors, Needs $130 Million More (Jul 2015)

If production of the Elio three-wheeler does launch two years hence, it will be at a former GM plant the company bought in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Formerly the site of Hummer assembly, the plant has been vacant for most of a decade, and some local residents have pinned their hopes for new jobs on Elio's success.

Local media have remained somewhat skeptical about the company's prospects and finances over that time.

Elio E1A test vehicle under construction, June 2016

Elio E1A test vehicle under construction, June 2016

Enlarge Photo

Elio had suggested two years ago that the company's need for capital could be supplied by loans from the Department of Energy's advanced technology vehicle manufacturing fund.

That program loaned roughly $8 billion to Fisker, Ford, Nissan, and Tesla in 2009; it lost more than $100 million when Fisker declared bankruptcy.

CHECK OUT: Elio 3-Wheeler Is Small And Clever, But Do Its Financials Work Out? (Aug 2013)

Tesla paid back its ATVM loan in full ahead of time, while Ford and Nissan continue to make payments on their loans, which make up the bulk of the $8 billion loaned out.

The ATVM has been a source of political controversy since its Fisker loss, however, and D.C. insiders have suggested it is highly unlikely to make any further loans to startup automakers.

EDITOR'S NOTE: An earlier version of this story said that stock being offered by Elio Motors is an Initial Public Offering, as reported by The Drive and other sources. In fact, it is a secondary offering of common stock. We have corrected the article and apologize for the error.

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