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by Tim Beissmann

US automotive start-up Elio Motors will build its quirky, fuel-efficient, three-wheel car from 2014 in a plant that was once home to the hulking Hummer H3 SUV.

RACER (Revitalising Auto Communities Environmental Response) – the trust responsible for selling and ‘greening up’ old General Motors properties – agreed to sell the 167,000-square-metre Shreveport, Louisiana plant to Elio, which is set to begin production of its $US6800 ($6500) two-seater in about 18 months’ time.

The Detroit Free Press reports Elio Motors intends to hire 1500 new workers at the plant to make the as yet unnamed three-wheeler, which features a conventional petrol engine, uses less than 3.9 litres of fuel per 100km on the combined cycle and has a theoretical driving range of 1081km.

Elio says preliminary tests on computer models predict the three-wheeler will achieve a five-star safety rating thanks to its reinforced roll cage frame, large crush zones, three airbags and anti-lock brakes.

Elio Motors’ CEO Paul Elio said the company was enthusiastic about starting work in Louisiana.

“There were three driving factors in the purchase of the plant: the business-friendly economic environment, the quality of the local experienced workforce, and our unwavering commitment to build Elio vehicles in America with American workers,” Elio said.

General Motors relinquished the plant in 2009 as part of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy restructure and leased it back from the trust until ceasing production there in 2012.




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