Three-wheeled vehicle startup Elio Motors is hoping that the fourth time is a charm.

Author: Danny King

The company, which is preparing to sell its super-fuel-efficient vehicles to the American public, said Thursday that it has completed its "fourth and final" design stage of engineering. With its chassis design dialed in, Elio is looking to start testing the vehicle for safety and ride dynamics.

Founded in 2009, Elio continues to make progress towards some revenue generation. So far this year, the company raised $17 million with a stock sale and started trading shares on the over-the-counter stock market. Elio has also tapped high-end auto engineer Roush to help out with the design process. Granted, federal regulators indicated earlier this year that they may boost safety mandates for car-like trikes like the Elio, and the company reported in an SEC filing earlier this year that it's lost almost $54 million. Still, the company is going full speed ahead, and says its design and its independent suspension layout reduces weight and gives the vehicle a lower profile and better aerodynamics cars that use MacPherson struts.

In fact, the company, which has taken more than 50,000 reservations for the trikes, said last month that it will sell 100 pre-production vehicles by the end of the year, though that means the lion's share of deliveries have been pushed back to next year. Elio, which showed off versions of the trike both at last year's New York and Los Angeles Auto shows, initially pegged a debut date at 2014, though the company is not alone among startup automakers in missing launch deadlines by a matter of years.

As we've reported, Elio says the trikes will be base-priced at $6,800 and will get a whopping 84 miles per gallon. The company will build the vehicle in a factory in Shreveport, Louisiana. Take a look at Elio Motors' press release below.


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