Elio Unveils US-Made Engine for Three-Wheeler, Faces Production Delays

Paul Elio, founder and chief executive officer of Elio Motors, details a new 0.9-liter, three-cylinder engine designed for its three-wheel car. This is the first in-house-made and US-made engine in a generation. The final engine prototype underwent several dynamometer tests before Elio made the announcement.


According to reviews, the engine delivered 84 mpg at the startup and top speed of more than 100 mph. Elio enlisted the aid of German engineering company, IAV, to help with the design to ensure it suits the three-wheel car.

Elio said the American-made three-wheeler is due for market release very soon, with a price tag of $6,800, complete with basic accessories including seating for two, airbags, air conditioning, stereo, power windows and power locks.

According to Michael del Castillo, Upstart Business Journal Technology & Innovation Editor, Elio said the engine is more complicated than the vehicle itself. Elio said the machine is “the last piece of the puzzle” in the three-wheeler’s design.


Elio claimed the 0.9-liter engine is “wholly conceived and produced in the United States” and that they succeed in producing an American-made car for the targeted $6,800 price.

Recognized as one of this year’s Upstart 100, Elio revealed that some of the machine’s components such as cylinder block, front cover, crankshaft, and connecting rods were built specifically for his company. Although no new technology was applied, he claimed they “optimized every detail”.

Elio Motors is in partnership with Comau in manufacturing, and both expect to start manufacturing the three-wheelers at a facility in Shreveport, Louisiana once they raise capital required for production.

The company reportedly needs $230 million to start production, and have been trying to apply for a government loan worth $185 million. According to an anonymous comment, that loan could take years to be approved, if at all.


Elio had allegedly lied in the past saying they were already “on-track to start production” when in fact they were facing financial shortfalls. Considering their failure to admit having insufficient funding, it would be hard to believe in anything the company claims, the anonymous commenter said.

It is not clear whether Elio Motors could start production by the first half of 2016, as promised. The guest commenter said that the company “will lose their lease at the Shreveport, LA plant if they fail to begin production in June 2016.

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