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.

  • Grosborn

    So why is the young family of four standing in front of the car(??) if it is only a two seater?
    Theoretically it will require 6 trips to convey said family to a point and back again compared to only two trips in a standard small 4 seater with not much worse fuel consumption. 

    • Nasal Explorer

      I don’t think the article says it’s a two-seater, and there seems to be enough room behind the front seats for an extra couple of bodies.

      • Nasal Explorer

        I stand corrected. I just read a bit closer.

      • Kampfer

        Only if those kids never grow up…

      • GUEST

        begin production of its $US6800 ($6500) two-seater in about 18 months’ time

    • DoubleBlue

       The key word here is “efficient” because that’s something the Hummer NEVER was.!

    • Russ Alman

      Yeah, kinda dumb to show a family in front of the car. This is not the niche this car will fill. This is for one or two people to use as a commuter car.

      I drive a Prius now, but I’m usually the only one in the vehicle so I don’t need the space. I’ve been looking at upgrading to a plug-in hybrid as my next vehicle, but I could buy 5 Elios for what that costs.

      Then again, for what it costs, you buy two and it would still be cheaper than the cheapest subcompact on the market, and you’d *still* use less gas (at 84MPG divided by 2).

      I think this would also make a lot of sense as a 2nd family car. Why drive two big vehicles… drive the bigger car when the whole family has to go someplace, and drive the Elio when it’s 1 or 2 people.

  • Cl1ff0

    Mr Bean’s upgrade…

  • Dylan

    I would buy this in an instant. Looks fantastic. And so cheap, and so much safer than a motorcycle. I really hope that this is a success and they import to Australia, or better yet, manufacture here. This is what Australian manufacturers should be doing. Developing cheap products that get people buying. Love it a lot!!

  • Fat-assed American

    Great idea, Will they be making one for fat-assed Americans?

    • Sally Forth

      Is there any other type?

      • Sally Field

        Pot calling kettle black, are we?

        • $29896495

          For a small three wheeler, it looks big enough. Looks like they’ve upsized an EU car.

  • Don Quay

    I can just imagine driving one of these and mixing it with those huge pickup trucks on the freeway or any street for that matter. The F250s in the WalMart carpark could reverse over this and not see it or even notice the bump. Maybe they should be supplied with a large pole with an orange flag on top.

  • soylentcorp

    er… H3 was not ‘hulking’. It was the girly-SUV. The grocery assault vehicle. Silly liberal.