Elio Motors showed off its three-wheeler at the International CES technology show in Las Vegas this week and announced the next step in its plan to put the vehicle into production.
The US company's model plan is to produce an ultra-frugal, low-cost vehicle using 90 per cent of domestically sourced components. The Elio is a three-wheeled two-seater powered by an inline three-cylinder, 0.9-litre petrol engine that produces 54bhp.
The company says the car will be capable of 84mpg US (equivalent to approximately 98mpg UK) on major roads – giving it a maximum range of more than 670 miles – and 49mpg (58mg UK) in the city. It intends to sell the vehicle for $6800 (about £4100). The vehicle will be available with either a five-speed manual gearbox or an automatic transmission.
Elio Motors has rented production space in the former General Motors Assembly and Stamping Plant in Shreveport, Louisiana. Work at the facility stalled in 2012 when GM's financial crisis took hold, but Elio Motors hopes to bring 1500 jobs back to the region.
At the CES technology convention, company founder Paul Elio explained that funding for the project has surpassed the $7m (approximately £4.2m) mark. Elio expects his company to begin commercial vehicle production in the first quarter of 2015.
"My dream has been to build a new kind of safe, reliable, fuel-efficient vehicle here in the United States. Acquiring this plant and all of the equipment in a fully operational state will allow Elio Motors to thrive right off the bat once commercial vehicle production begins in 2015," he said.
The CES visit is part of a US-wide tour to showcase the prototype vehicle. The company has been accepting pre-orders and currently has 6300 prospective buyers on board.