You may have heard of Elio Motors, the three-wheel vehicle start-up promising superb fuel economy and affordable prices. While that all sounds fine, things are less than dandy inside the company’s operations.
According to local news affiliate KTBS3, the Louisiana parish that backed Elio has quite a few questions as to what’s going on and why it hasn’t done much of anything with its manufacturing facility. Elio set up shop at General Motors’ former Shreveport assembly plant in Louisiana. Local lawmakers are now calling for an investigation as to why Elio was chosen over two other suitable manufacturing operations.
It gets worse: Elio reportedly needs another $376 million to start production. At the time of the report, the company had just $120,000 in the bank. Commissioners from the parish are looking for answers from Stuart Lichter, a majority shareholder and leaseholder of the plant.
“Today the board voted to ask Stuart Lichter to come and talk to the IDB and the Parish and update everybody as to what he’s doing, and what he expect to happen at the plant.” attorney David Wolfe said, according to KTBS. “It’s frustrating that Elio is not running and more jobs are not there now.”
Elio told Jalopnik its production target of 2018 is still on schedule and that the goal has always leaned on continued fundraising for the company.
“Our production date has always been dependent on funding,” founder Paul Elio said in a statement. “Our current target is to launch production in 2018.”
Lichter will have to provide answers soon. According to the SEC filing, Elio has until July 1 of this year to create 1,500 jobs in Caddo Parish or it will be served a $7.5 million fine. Elio currently has 28 employees on its payroll.
Elio seems prepared to face the fine, too. According to its books, the $7.5 million fine has already been accounted for as of December 31, 2016.