Elio Motors Is Looking To Raise $100 Million To Keep The Dream Alive

Photo: SEC
Photo: SEC

Elio Motors, hamstrung by repeated delays to deliver on a longshot bid to produce a futuristic three-wheeled vehicle, is looking to raise up to $100 million, according to a proposed public offering filed on Thursday. The filing revealed the company has again delayed when it expects to produce and deliver the car by another year, to 2019.

Elio’s ambitious plan involves producing a three-wheeled vehicle that the company claims can get up to 84 miles per gallon at a former General Motors factory in Shreveport, Louisiana. The price of the car, a major selling point from the company’s perspective, is set at $7,450, up from the original target of $6,800.


But Elio has repeatedly delayed production plans for the vehicle—called The Elio, after its namesake, company founder Paul Elio—because of significant financial problems. In May, the company revealed it needed $376 million to launch production of the vehicle, and said that it furloughed a “significant portion of the engineering, manufacturing, and sales and marketing workforce.”

The number of shares and the price range for the offering haven’t been determined, according to a registration statement filed with the U.S. Securites and Exchange Commission for the initial public offering. Elio plans to list on the NASDAQ Global Market. A successful IPO, while still a longshot, could allow the company to restart production of prototypes and generate more interest in the car.

The size of the IPO was estimated “solely for the purpose of computing the amount of the registration fee,” the company said in the filing Thursday. A spokesperson for the company didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The company was fined $545,000 last month by the state of Louisiana, which said Elio is operating as a “manufacturer” under state law and therefore should have a license to accept non-refundable deposits. Elio has vowed to appeal the decision.


Elio also owes RACER Trust $1.75 million as part of a loan that facilitated the company’s move into the Louisiana factory. RACER, which took over the facility as part of GM’s bankruptcy, loaned Elio $23 million in the deal.

“We intend to use the net proceeds of this offering for working capital and general corporate purposes, including sales and marketing activities, product development, and capital expenditures,” Elio said in the filing.


The company currently has $208,748 on hand, according to the filing, up from about $120,000 earlier this year.

Elio has remained hopeful that it could launch production and deliver vehicles by next year to the roughly 65,000 reservation holders who paid deposits for the three-wheeled vehicle. But the timeline for The Elio has been again delayed, according to the filing.


“The Elio is still in development, and we do not expect to start delivering to customers until 2019,” the filing said. “The Elio vehicle requires significant investment prior to commercial introduction, and may never be successfully developed or commercially successful.”

The company estimates that it requires $376.6 million from new investment to launch production, the filing said, of which $110.5 million would be obtained through additional reservation deposits. That means the company is still expecting to receive a significant uptick of interest in the car in the coming months.


While Elio has long said it hopes to tap additional funding through the U.S. government’s Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program, it has yet to receive confirmation on a loan application for $185 million. The ATVM program hasn’t doled out loans in years, and Elio describes the potential funding source as crucial to the vehicle’s proposed production timeline.


“If we fail to obtain these loan proceeds within the timeframe needed to support our proposed production timetable or not be funded at all, it is likely we will experience significant delays in our production timetable,” the filing says.

The filing includes a lengthy warning section to prospective investors.

“Our limited operating history makes evaluating our business and future prospects difficult, and may increase the risk of an investment in our company,” the company said in the filing. “You must consider the risks and difficulties we face as a development stage company with limited operating history.”


“We have not yet produced or delivered our first vehicle and we have not generated any revenues,” the filing continues. “If we do not successfully address these risks, our business, prospects, operating results and financial condition will be materially and adversely harmed.”

Senior Reporter, Jalopnik/Special Projects Desk

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Money Hustard

I’m proud to say I stopped a coworker from sending in a deposit on one of these 3 or 4 years back. At this point though, Elio needs to scrap this effort, and if they really believe in the concept, raise this money to workout a new brand and new design for this car which is already dated.

This thing would never catch on in the US even if they do manage to build one to spec.