Elio Motors founder shares story of unique high-mileage vehicle

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Screenshot 2015-03-12 23.41.01The driving force behind one of the most innovative concept cars in years shared its story with a large crowd in JFK Auditorium Wednesday.

Paul Elio, founder and CEO of Elio Motors, explained the inspiration and ideas that have gone into creating a three-wheeled car that he expects to get 84 miles per gallon while selling for less than $7,000. Elio brought along a prototype of the car that drew attention throughout the day, parked on the mall by DiSepio before moving to the sidewalk outside JFK.

Elio Motors is dedicated to creating a revolution in the automotive industry. Elio says he was inspired to act by the flight of jobs from the U.S. “I would watch the news every night and got disgusted with all the wealth pouring out of the country,” said Elio. “And one day I decided instead of getting frustrated I’d go out and do something about it.”

The car, which is expected to begin production in 2016 at a former Hummer factory in Louisiana, is 90% American made.

Elio said when he is not with his kids he is driving a seven-person car all to himself because it is too expensive to purchase a smaller car for his individual commute. The Elio is designed specifically to solve this problem. He sees it as an ‘and’ car,” that can play an important role in many households.

An engineer, Elio knew the car could work because no breakthrough design technology was needed. The secret to the car’s success is the front-and-back seating, which allows for a narrow body that dramatically reduces wind resistance.

Classified as a motorcycle by federal regulations, the car will nonetheless meet automobile safety standards, according to Elio. The company has been working with state legislatures to change some motorcycle regulations (such as helmet requirements) and is lobbying to create a new federal classification of “autocycle.”

Moreover, the Elio will come in two varieties—manual and automatic transmission—and limited colors. The standard design will allowig customers to design everything else post-purchase. “You don’t have to pay for what you don’t want,” said Elio. “You get more of what you want, and you pay a lot less for it.”

Elio Motors is an automotive company that has been making international headlines for over a year. Publications such as The New York Times, CNN, FOX Business, and Good Morning America have been following Elio Motors.

There has been a vast interest in Elio Motors, and the car is expected to be on the market by 2016.

Elio Motors wants to change how Americans get around, while creating more jobs and being a more environmentally friendly car. Through plant jobs, supply house and community, Elio Motors anticipates creating 21,000 jobs.

The event, arranged by Mr. Kent Tonkin of the School of Business, was part of the annual Dr. Albert Zanzuccki Endowed Chair in Business Lecture Series.

Elio from behind for FB