Paul Elio is on a mission to produce a very lightweight (1250lb target) three wheel car, sort of a low-cost Aptera type thing, based on "off the shelf" tech and suppliers.
I have been watching his effort develop, and it is impressive how far Elio has come, considering how difficult it is to bring something to market.
There is a nagging question hanging over the Elio: capital. In order to actually produce the trike, Elio Motors must raise a huge pile of money. They need money for development, testing, tooling, certification, etc. They need to hire and train many more employees. They need to build many prototypes to hammer out durability, crashworthiness, quality.
The problem is, after many obvious auto startup failures such as Fisker, Saab 2.0, Aptera, and even struggles of established players such as Smart, Suzuki, or Mitsubishi, investors are cautious about the automotive sector.
Investors are asking themselves, even if Elio can deliver, will people buy this weird three wheel vehicle, which is legally a motorcycle in the eyes of the DOT and most states? Will the safety claims play out? Will it have enough refinement and comfort for a mass market?
Elio Motors can't fund their launch selling t-shirts and $1000 reservations. Elio needs hundreds of millions of dollars. Where will they get it?