Startup car company Elio Motors said back in 2013 it would deliver its economical three-wheeled, front-wheel-drive vehicle in 2014.
The following year it promised production would begin in 2016.
Now, after showing off its first test vehicle, the E1A, another production date is on the calendar — 2017.
Unveiled in front of automotive suppliers and engineers in Livonia, Mich., Elio said the two seater prototype test vehicle will undergo a battery of tests that will help refine and finalize the overall design aerodynamics and safety performance.
“The completion of the first E-Series vehicle signals the launch of another critical phase in our journey,” said Paul Elio, founder and CEO of Elio Motors.
“This is a giant step forward for the company and our Elio reservation holders as we continue to progress,” he added.
While the delayed production has caused some to call the vehicle vaporware, Elio has stayed consistent, saying the production vehicle will have highway fuel economy of 84 miles per gallon, and a price of $6,800 that includes air conditioning and airbags.
After tests of the E1A are completed, Elio plans to build 100 pre-production vehicles in a former General Motors assembly plant in Shreveport, Louisiana, that had assembled Hummers.
Last April the company said it will sell the 100 pre-production vehicles this year to generate revenue and allow Roush, its lead engineering partner, to “provide a quieter, smoother vehicle.”
The company says more than 40,000 reservation holders have plunked down $100-$1,000 for the vehicle, representing potential sales of $300 million.
Earlier this year, it raised nearly $17 million through a small investor crowd-funding program under a new law that allows accredited and non-accredited investors alike to invest up to $15,000 in small startups.
That’s way short of the $230 million the company said it needed last year to start production at the Shreveport plant.
To make up the short fall Elio hopes to receive funds from the Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing low-interest loan program.
No automaker has received loans under the program since 2010.