Elio vehicles will be fitted with Cooper low rolling resistance tires.

Cooper Tire & Rubber Company and Elio Motors, Inc., announced November 11 that they have signed a letter of intent to work together.

Elio, headquartered in Troy, Mich., is an automotive startup and said it is pioneering a three-wheeled, two-passenger vehicle expected to compete in the ultra-high mileage category beginning in late 2014.

Weighing about 1,200 pounds, Elio said its vehicle runs on a three-cylinder, 55-horsepower, fuel-injected engine. The vehicle is expected to retail for approximately $6,800 and Elio plans to produce it in Shreveport, Louisiana, using components primarily made in North America.

“We are delighted to have Cooper as our tire supplier. This letter of intent signifies a step forward in American manufacturing and assembly. We are proud that the Cooper tires supplied for the Elio will be manufactured in a U.S. plant and our vehicle will be manufactured in Shreveport, creating American jobs,” said Paul Elio, CEO of Elio Motors. “Elio Motors is determined to use only quality suppliers while pioneering this affordable new road in the automotive industry. We cannot underestimate the importance of a quality tire in making a vehicle both enjoyable and safe to drive.”

Once the agreement is finalized, Cooper intends to supply Elio tires as original equipment on its vehicles, which Elio expects to achieve up to 84 miles per gallon.

“Continued innovation is critical in the automotive business, and Cooper is excited to be working with Elio to develop an innovative tire design to be manufactured in one of our U.S. plants,” said Chris Ostrander, President, North America Tire Division. “Cooper shares Elio’s commitment to this vehicle promoting a sustainable environment. By supplying tires with Cooper’s low rolling resistance technology, Cooper will make a significant contribution toward helping Elio achieve its goal of 84 miles per gallon.”