So this is really no big surprise. Elio Motors, the startup automaker building a three-wheeled vehicle, is hiking its originally targeted $6,800 starting price by $500. It’s also hoping to nail down 9,000 more reservations needed to apply for a government loan program.
The company now says it’ll run you either $7,000 or $7,300. It’s locked in at $7,000 if you make a non-refundable reservation and make a binding commitment to buy. It’s $7,300 if you just place a non-refundable reservation. The prices are good until Elio reaches $65,000 reservations (either non-refundable or refundable).
Here’s why that 65,000 number is important. Without that many reservations, Elio won’t qualify for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing loan program. One of the program’s stipulations in the application process is that a company must demonstrate “market acceptance.” Right now, Elio says even though it has $56,000 total reservations, it’s not enough to demonstrate that, according to the ATVM’s new guidelines published June 2016.
It’s been a very busy year overall for Elio. It recently publicly listed its stock, launched a new ePlus mass personalization system, and unveiled the E1A (shown below). It’s the first in a series of engineering vehicles Elio is building to conduct durability and safety tests. It will be assembling those test vehicles in Michigan, but building the production models at its plant in Louisiana. By the way, Elio is still sticking to the up to 84 mpg promise.
Elio hopes to begin mass production next year. But after quite a few delays already, we’ll see how it goes.