Elio MotorsUS – The company says the sale will enable the evaluation of its vehicles under real-world conditions and design refinement by the supplier team, as well as bringing in additional revenue. The first 100 units were previously intended for internal use.

‘The work we do on these vehicles will provide important insight that will make for a smooth transition when we begin hiring production workers for the consumer vehicle launch,” said Gino Raffin, vice-president of Manufacturing for Elio Motors. Modifications will be made in collaboration with Roush, which this week was named lead engineering partner.

The three-wheeled vehicles will be built in 1m sq.m of the 4m sq.m former GM factory at Shreveport, Louisiana, by the fourth quarter of 2016. Elio expects the facility to employ a 1,500-strong workforce at full production. The targeted base price is $6,800.

Raffin admitted that building an ultra-low-cost and highly efficient vehicle for the mass market is “not an easy task”. He said Elio has the necessary engineering and supplier partnerships and that it continues “to make progress” on gaining substantial funding, recently making a successful stock offering. However, the consumer launch is being moved back into 2017 as Elio seeks further funding.