A Tale Of Two Car Companies

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Here’s a tale of two start-up car companies: Elio Motors and … Tesla.hurray Cronyism!

One execrable, the other admirable.

Elio is developing a low-cost ($6,800 to start) very high mileage (80-plus MPG) commuter car.

Tesla builds expensive toys.

This – the building of toys – is not of itself an execrable activity. Lamborghinis and Porsches are toys, too.

They are expensive, impractical things.

As is the Tesla – including the new Model 3. It’s expensive ($35k to start; probably closer to $40k once all is said and done) and impractical. Not a car for cold places or long trips … unless you don’t mind long waits.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that… if that’s what you’re into.travesty

Lambos are also finicky and not good for very much except going very fast and advertising that you’ve got funds.

The execrable element is that Tesla expects you to pay for its toys. Not for yourself. But so that other people – affluent people – can play with them.

It’s exactly like giving – being forced to give – your orthodontist a fat check so he can go out and buy a new 911 or Gallardo.

Elio, in contrast, merely offers its cars – which you’re free to buy or not. And if you don’t want one, they’re not gonna force you (via Uncle) to “help” other people buy one.

So, which one gets the press? The adulation of the press? The seal-clapping encomiums on Today and Good Morning America and such?

How many people have even heard of Elio Motors?

How many have not heard of Tesla?crony pals

The reason for this disparity is easy enough to grok:

Tesla makes collectivism sexy – and that makes Tesla popular with collectivists.

Selling the Green Agenda has not been easy because it seems pretty dreary. Pay more for shittier things. But the Tesla looks good. This allows preening.

It is quick – which allows bragging.

And – so they say – it is green, too.

This renders cost no object.

It doesn’t matter that the entire venture is a Jenga castle of crony capitalism; that every “sale” entails an extortion payment extracted from a real car company – a “carbon credit” that is “sold” to offset the less-than-Teslian characteristics of functionally viable but “greenhouse gas” producing conventional cars… that it is necessary to bribe even rich people who have money to burn on toys with thousands of dollars of tax write-offs (the costs for these written off onto the backs of those who pay the taxes) in order to complete each transaction.fanboi

No. The Tesla is a long-legged, G-string-wearing planet-saving sex machine… and can do no wrong. Sense is blind to the realities behind the flash in the same way that men’s reason is often blinded – and their judgment impaired – by a hot piece of ass. No matter her liabilities.

The Elio is not sexy. It is a thumb in the eye to everything the Tesla is and stands for.

It is practical; an ideal city car/commuter car well-suited to Froggering around in busy urban traffic and which can be parked pretty much anywhere a motorcycle fits.

It is cheap. A new car for just under $7k – or about half the price of the typical economy compact sedan and about a fifth the cost of a Tesla 3.

Which also means it costs less to insure.

Most of all – and unlike the Tesla – the Elio is economical. Eighty-plus MPG renders the cost of gas a near-irrelevance, even if it doubles. Check Tesco Offers and Lidl Offers. And makes the Tesla look ridiculous, if the criteria is economy.

Or even “saving the planet.”

How much less energy goes into making an Elio? It does not have hundreds of pounds of lethally noxious chemical batteries that required Earth rape to obtain. Nor does it depend upon C02-producing utility plants for its motive power.

But most of all, it is a car that many people could simply write a check for – that is, bought outright, no loan. No debt. And that is anathema to the Banksters who run the country and who push Teslas via the media they own, the bought-and-paid-for parrots who read the Tele-e-Prompters and know what the Talking Points are.fanboi2

Can’t have people not chained to beefy monthly payments for the next seven years. Can’t have a car that doesn’t include multi-leveled kickbacks of other people’s money (i.e., “incentives”) to make each “sale.”

The Elio is sane.

A car ideally suited to every consideration of our times.

The Tesla, insane.

It touts the fact that it uses no gasoline, so no worries about the cost of gas. But you pay (with “help” from Uncle) $35,000-plus to “save” on the cost of fuel.

It touts performance – quick acceleration. But if its ability to accelerate quickly is used much, the car’s range is reduced a lot. What good is a quick car that can’t go very far?

But it’s sexy – and it’s “green” – and that makes it politically appealing, even if it’s utterly ridiculous as an economic proposition, absurd as a machine and noxious as as an example of the most grotesque manifestation of crony capitalism I’m aware of – exceeding even the effrontery of the ethanol lobby.

Cue the Zapruder film….

EPautos.com depends on you to keep the wheels turning! The control freaks (Clovers) hate us. Goo-guhl blackballed us.

Will you help us? 

Our donate button is here.

 If you prefer not to use PayPal, our mailing address is:

721 Hummingbird Lane SE
Copper Hill, VA 24079

PS: EPautos stickers are free to those who sign up for a $5 or more monthly recurring donation to support EPautos, or for a one-time donation of $10 or more. (Please be sure to tell us you want a sticker – and also, provide an address, so we know where to mail the thing!)EPautoslogo



  1. Did a thread get deleted? Anywho the contratst of a real innovator and a con man couldn’t be nmore clearer. One adds value to society, one steals value. And that’s where we’re at.

  2. This picture of “the toad” next to Obama, make him look like Dracula in a 3 piece suit having a bad-hair day.
    What a bloodless, boot-licking parasite this guy is!

  3. Yes, all that great info on the Elio site about how the car is “going to be available within the next year”. Which is what they’ve been saying for nearly a decade now.

    Heck, there was story released just the other day saying production will start in 2017. Yet another delay.

    They should just convert Tata Nanos to 3 wheelers so they’d be motorcycles in the eyes of the law and actually produce a product you can drive off the lot sometime in the next 10 years.

    They’ve been taking deposits how long now? If I was one of the people who gave them a $1000 deposit 5 years ago, I’d be seriously pissed off right about now.

    • “If I was(were) one of the people who gave them a $1000 deposit 5 years ago, I’d be seriously pissed off right about now.”

      Since you didn’t write a check and don’t know how much you’ve “given” Tesla then you’re ok with them? Just try not “paying” Tesla and see how that works.

        • bevin, not precisely along the same lines as Bastiat, there’s a book I intend to buy when I get back to work by Carl Watner And Wendy McElroy; Dissenting Electorate: Those Who Refuse to Vote and the Legitimacy of Their Opposition

          It’s the same message every election year: “Get out and vote–It’s your civic duty.” Those who audit the sound bites of the candidates, read headlines about the debates and finally pull the lever at their local precinct are touted as moral, upstanding citizens; those who find among the candidates no agreeable representative, no platform worthy of espousal, and who then refuse to turn out on election day, on the other hand, are labeled apathetic and the legitimacy of their opposition is denied. This book is an anthology of articles and excerpts from a variety of sources that deal with the topic of nonvoting. In presenting the minority view that important moral and political reasons abound for not voting, the book unfolds four general arguments: voting is implicitly a coercive act because it lends support to a compulsory state; voting reinforces the legitimacy of the state; and existing nonpolitical, voluntarist alternatives better serve society. Many people do not agree with the concept of nonvoting–but the serious and well thought through underpinnings of such a belief are of crucial importance to an understanding of modern American politics.

          It’s a pricey little bugger @$40 although a used one can be had for half that.

          In defense of its cost, it’s a great assortment of essays from many anarchist authors including the co-authors.

          • True. Not precisely the same.

            But similar, in the more general sense that perception of economic reality is distorted because certain costs remain unseen.

    • Hi Dave,

      The delays are absolutely frustrating; no argument there. But the company has not had the “advantages” of fawning media coverage and billions in federal “help,” either.

      That frog-faced crony capitalist (Musk) has bled the taxpayers of almost $5 billion … so far.

      How’s that make you feel?

      • eric, this just in:
        Elio Motors

        May 1, 2016

        Hello B,

        I knew that starting a vehicle manufacturing company would be the ultimate challenge and would only be accomplished with the support of others who shared the same vision. Bringing a new vehicle to market, changing how the world thinks about transportation, creating American jobs – these are just a few of the things that keep me and the Elio Motors team charging forward every day.

        One of the things we’ve done from the start is reward those who’ve been early supporters. For non-refundable reservation holders, that reward came in the form of a 50% reservation bonus on their “All In” reservation level. It was our thank you for being early believers.

        With the recent funding and engineering milestones achieved, and now more than 52,000 reservation holders, we are even more confident that our vision will soon be reality. Which is why now is the time to make a reservation.

        If you’ve been waiting to secure your place in line, we wanted to let you know that the current 50% reservation bonus offer will end May 31, 2016. Elio Motors will then reduce the reservation bonus offer for a non-refundable reservation to 25%.

        For those of you who already made an “All In” reservation, your reservation bonus will remain unchanged and will still be applied to the final purchase price of your Elio. However, if you are a refundable reservation holder but would like to convert to an “All In” reservation, or if you’re an “All In” reservation holder and would like to upgrade to a higher level, the 50% reservation bonus is there until May 31 for you, as well. Learn how to get your reservation bonus here!

        On behalf of our entire team, thank you again for your continued support.


      • Dear 8sm, Eric,


        At least in the case of the Elio, people weren’t forced to front money. Only those who had an interest, voluntarily fronted money.

        Funny how Dave blanked that out.

        Come to think of it. this is another sense in which Bastiat’s “unseen” applies. Suppose the 5 billion had gone to Elio instead of Tesla?

        Wouldn’t all those who put down 1000 dollar deposits have cars by now?

        Not that I’m advocating forced subsidies. I’m not, of course. I’m merely pointing out a reason why Tesla is rolling out cars and Elio isn’t.

        • bevin, Tesla made in direct subsidy up to $14,700 per car. What else can I say?
          And at first, it was $100 deposits, cheap stat-up.

  4. The real difference between Elio and Tesla has actually produced cars you can buy and Elio hasn’t.

    The Elio, as appealing as it sounds (and it does – I’d love one, or something ike it) is that it is complete vaporware. They haven’t produced a single production car. Tesla has sold thousands of cars, and are doing their best to bring the prices down. All we hear from Elio is how great their car will be, but they seem to have no idea how to bring it to volume production.

    • I’ve sen too much of this before. Sweetwater Tx. 25 years ago anda corrupt city council. They vote to allow a company called Regen to pay no taxes for X years and they’d create a huge amount of jobs. It turned out there were few jobs and none locally when it was built with union labor from other states. it rocks along a few year and then was shut down. It still stands…..and I see it almost every day passing by on I-20, the typical tax scam company sell. I have never seen one of these companies stay long term. Abilene Tx. has a commercial area eaten up with old buildings pass from one fly by night scheme to make a few people a lot of money while the taxpayer pays for these scams.

  5. Saw a Tesla S in a parking lot yesterday.
    It’s custom plate read:
    “NO GAS”.

    ignorant and arrogant fuck!
    Left a note on his windshield to read this interesting article (tinyurl’d) and ti enjoy it.

  6. I, too have been waiting for Elio to get off the line. As a (small) manufacturer myself, I’ve been dismayed at the delays. You spec the parts, make them yourself or source them, bring them together in one place and assemble them. Simple. And lucrative, when done right.

    My biggest fear, sadly, is that all of the delays have put the Elio roll-out smack-dab in the middle of the worst global economic meltdown in history. Maybe if they had started hitting the road two years ago they would be a well enough established player by now to survive, and even thrive in a low-income era. As it is, I’m reminded of the survival expert who, with lots of press on hand, wandered naked into the Oregon wilderness in August 1914 to prove he could survive for 30 days on his wits and skills. When he came out of the wilderness, all of the press’ attention was directed to another story…

  7. Keep in mind 80mpg is highway. If you use it urban hopping, They say to expect 50ish mpg iirc. They say it is ok in snow, but I question that. That is my big reservation with it.

    • Hi C_lover,

      Even 50 MPG would be as good or better than a hybrid – and the Elio’s projected MSRP is about a fourth that of a Prius.

      I expect it would not be a good snow day ride, though!

  8. I reserved my ELIO years ago, and then a second one. Now each year they announce that the production will begin the following year – and then each year they postpone production for another year. I’m getting disappointed, as this has been going on for a number of years. But if they ever do start making them I’ll buy one or two of them. However, if my 2007 Yaris ever bits the dust, I’ll then buy a used base stick shift Mitsubishi Mirage, unless something cheaper with better gas mileage comes along in the meantime. The ELIO would fit me perfectly, and I really do hope that they make them – some day – and make me mine.

  9. Will you still need a motorcycle endorsement for the Elio?

    That’s been one issue with many 3-wheelers – they’re classified as motorcycles at the state level (is that the case in VA?)

    I know the various 3-wheeler makers have been lobbying to change that requirement, but I don’t know how successful they’ve been.

    • There’s lots of good info on the Elio site, including the answer to this question. No, you won’t need a motorcycle endorsement on your license. There are still two states who would require you to wear a helmet while driving it. It can be driven in the HOV lane with one occupant. Elio is working with all state legislatures to create a new vehicle category and remove any onerous regulations that really don’t apply to an enclosed vehicle with roll cage and 3 airbags.

      • All these 3-wheeler shenanigans are to work around the fact that 4-wheel car regulations are too onerous to meet in any sort of affordable way. Nobody builds 3-wheeled cars because they’re better than 4-wheel cars.


        • Your point is right on mark. Government regulations have all but eliminated companies that might try to bootstrap a new/innovative four wheel car.

          The country that once spawned the Model T is now one of the worst places to try for a modern day version of such.

    • Bill in NC,
      I believe that you are in luck and good Elio fortune! This has been taken care of by Elio and driving an Elio shouldn’t require an MC endorsement in most if not all states. For my state, the MC endorsement isn’t needed. The steering wheel made the difference here in the state of Oregon. The Elio has been listed under a new classification of vehicle called an “Autocycle”. You should check out Elios website for the real deal information on this. They have posted quite a bit of info regarding their vehicle. Hope this helps regarding your question.
      Wil in Oregon

  10. I had $100 for a reservation in Elio but the last production delay caused me to ask for it back. I sure hope that the Elio goes into production. I commute 35 miles each way, 70 miles, to work. The Elio really fits the bill for me and I really would love to see the Elio go into production. For me to be worth it as strictly as a commuter, it needs to be available, manufactured, in the next year or so, and under $9000.

    I currently fill up my paid for 2006 Impala once a week. I would need to fill up the Elio once a month, more or less. The cost savings in gasoline will pay the Elio in a year or two.

    I also have a 1996 Ford Ranger. I am pretty sure that the Elio and the truck will suffice for my needs: commuting to work, going fishing and hauling some stuff occasionally.

    Com on Elio, quit sending so many darn emails and get producing.

  11. I tried watching the unveil of the Tesla Model 3 on youtube. After 30 seconds of green propaganda from Elon, I had to turn it off. No doubt he’s a rock star though for whatever reason.

    I hope Elio Motors can be viable selling 7k cars, but I have my doubts. I certainly wouldn’t put my hard earned money down on one until I can put my hands on it.

  12. Hmmm, maybe we should wait and see if Elios really ever do materialize for $7K, and how good they are before touting the benefits of something that might never be? (Although, that in no way negates the fact that Teslas are impractical commie cars).

    In fact, I would add to list of Tesla negatives the fact that Teslas are totally reliant upon software and electronics for virtually everything; which means their owners are going to be a captive audience always tethered to the company which controls that software, and the control (and likely surveillance) which that entails.

    And considering the track record of past electric vehicles, I can not believe that consumers are willing to be guinea pigs with such expensive cars, which, if past history is any indicator, will likely be relegated to the scrap heap before very long, and something, much like a Yugo, which will be a universal joke. I mean, what electric vehicle thus far has endured? I have even less confidence that one which the government is subsidizing and touting will somehow end up being less of a disaster.

    • Hi Nunzio,

      The major issue for Elio, in my opinion, is making it through the gantlet of Uncle’s crash-test requirements. Otherwise, it’d be no problem to get 84 MPG out of a three wheeler with a 1 liter engine.

      Hell, a mostly stock ’80s-era Honda CRX was capable of 50-plus with a carburetor….

      • Well-said, Eric. Actually making something today which does what you want it to do, is nothing. Making it “legal” is usually the biggest impediment.

        I often ponder how different (and how much better) everything would be if the Dutch Uncle kept his nose out of everyone’s business!

        America used to be great. You’d never know it these days.

        • Hi Nunzio,

          Yup. It’s not for lack of engineering talent – much less technology.

          My buddy Tim (ace mechanic) and I could build a 60-plus MPG updated version of an ’80s-era Honda CRX… without even a fraction of the engineering resources of a modern car company. It’d be “clean” – meet all current emissions regs – so no criticism could be made about harm caused to anyone… but the problem is the car would never pass current federal crash standards or comply with “safety” mandates… and therefore, could not legally be sold to the public.

          It’s the “safety” crap that is preventing anyone from building a low-cost/mass market (and very high mileage) car. And “safety” – insofar as such things as the car’s ability to withstand impact forces in a crash – is none of the government’s business because it is no one else’s business what “risk” a free man decides to expose himself to.

          Government is thought of as a kind of secular Jesus – but it’s neither holy nor even especially wise. It’s just a bunch of other people. What gives them the right to tell another person – a supposedly free person – that they must have seat belts and air bags and back-up cameras in their car?

          It’s as obnoxious as telling people they must eat their veggies.

  13. Mr. Peters,

    What would your view of Tesla Motors be if all of the subsidies, tax incentives and any other corporatist special privileges where removed?

    • Hi Jeffersonian,

      In that case, I’d regard Tesla as another option among many that might appeal to some but not others. And I’d cheer the availability of that choice.

      I don’t object to Maybach or Bentley… for the same reason.

  14. Another article that makes it appear Elio is on the verge of production, no mention of the $230 million needed to even think of starting production or skepticism on the unachievable price of $6,800 or 84 mpg, I didn’t realize so called reporters just regurgitate PR material put out by companies.Clover

    • Bob,

      The Elio may or may not achieve production. But 84 MPG and well under $10k is absolutely doable. I know this, because it is already being done.

  15. Has Elio shipped any to customers yet?

    I would like to point out that the Bricklin SV-1 (also marketed as safe, economical and sporty) actually made it into customer’s hands…

    • I don’t think so… I’m waiting to hear from their PR people. I think they have prototype/pre-production models running around…

      • Upon re-reading my comment, it came off a bit snarky. Getting an all-new vehicle to market is *hard*. There have been lots of people over the years who have tried (and failed), from Malcolm Bricklin to John Z. DeLorean. Getting the first customer deliveries done is an important milestone, and doing so takes the product from “Ehh, maybe” to “Definitely maybe”.

  16. Another big plus for the Elio will be its super-suitability in places like The Bahamas. I just drove around on the left side of the road in a left-hand-drive Buick for a couple of weeks. Not too bad, but not much fun at night in the rain. Sighting right down the middle of the lane here or there would be great.

    Easier to drive than the big cars, drier than scooters, and able to carry your swim gear and camera securely. Fits the islands better than OJ’s glove!

    Price and economy should make it a winner over there, especially for guests in the country. I would expect the rental agencies to suck them up by the boatload.

  17. Where is the Elio ? At least if you are wealthy you can buy a Tesla ,however there are no truly “green ” cars (sorry ,that includes any produced ,only ones that we perceive as the most practical and a bit more affordable .Power plant technology improves and the much lamented Natural gas business helps clean up things a bit , however I still havent been able to figure out how to build a gasoline refinery on my hillside lot.I could with enough funds build a system that operates on sunlight and would allow me to travel a couple hundred miles a day without having to worry about Prince Faud or whoever cutting off my precious juice ,Green ? hardly,but doable ? yes.
    I could at great expense and bother setup an alcohol distillery to power my ICE the way Henry Ford intended ,but I believe I will pass on that one too.(my average daily commute is around 30 miles ,in the winter unless I have to push snow ,I stay home out of the NaCl )

      • Elio stock took a significant hit in the last few days. I am puzzled as to why, but it is probably that the skeptics started another sell off. Then today, the headline reads: “Elio Motors Gears up for Industry Preview Days, Public Days at North American International Auto Show in Detroit”.


        I think too many people think it as easy as ol’ Henry had it to bring a new car to market. Even new models of existing manufacturers take years to bring to the showrooms. Most start with a full array of stuff they can modify to look like a new model when it is really only the same old thing re-badged or hung in new sheet metal. To get even a vague idea of what Elio is up against, think Saturn, with all the advantages of GM behind it. It was announced as a concept in 1982. The first cars rolled off the line in 1990. And where did the EPA/DOT rules stand in that time period?

        People need to give Paul Elio a little slack, and a bit of encouragement.

  18. Dear Eric,

    “How many people have even heard of Elio Motors? How many have not heard of Tesla?”

    What a sad state of affairs.

    It’s a good thing that the real Tesla is getting some long delayed name recognition out of this.

    But then again, being lumped together with Elon Musk, maybe not.

  19. Tesla builds their cars in Fremont, California.

    Elio puts their factory in Shreveport, Louisiana.

    Just on that fact alone I’m much more likely to buy an Elio over a Tesla. What moron puts an automobile factory in the middle of the most expensive real estate market in the country?

    BTW the Elio looks like it would make a great tow-behind for an RV.

    • That fact was foremost in my mind. Ca., the most expensive place to take a crap much less jump through the hoops necessary to build a car vs. La., possibly the only cheaper place to build anything than Tx.

      • Elon didn’t put anything in California. He was selected to take over operations of the existing NUMMI plant in Hawthorne, CA. Musk doesn’t take risks, he only “innovates” and produces goods after the Ayn Rand Villians award him their Mafia Territory and Charter. He is the Anti-Galt.

        Goodbye, NUMMI: How the GM and Toyota joint-venture plant in Hawthorne, CA, NUMMI, Changed the Culture of Car-Making

        Elon is probably the most important Political Entrepreneur of our times. Musk was the Nationalizer Socializer Corporatizer of what is now called PayPal. A technology which, for a while there, was a viable existential threat to the entire World Fiat Currency Mafia.

        Now that PayPal is neutered and meaningless, you can sleep soundly knowing you won’t be getting any counterfeit goods or new dangerous services from any rogue entrepreneurs.

        As before, since 1865m every single good and service will need to have Uncle America and Aunt Europe’s seal of approval on it, before you’re allowed to spend so much as single US dollar or EU trinket on it.

        The most important Musk enterprise is “privatizing” NASA. Which simply put, means all the infrastructure you’ve already been made to pay for, will be handed over to the Space Political Industrialists, and you’ll once again be made to pay a premium for these things once again. You don’t want ISIS to win the space race and fill our galaxy with interstellar jihad, now would you. Pay up sucker.

        There are only two entities officially able to send humans into outer space at this time. China National Space Agency and ROSCOSMOS State Corporation.

        Elon is likely the third. Good old Captain Musk of American Knowhow. His privately held SpaceX corporation’s pressurized dragon capsules are reported to be delivering live animals to the International Space Station in the mainstream news.

        Since half the Space Missions these days are not reported, and only a few unverifiable facts about each mission is allowed to be leaked. Transonic aircraft missions. Military satellite deployments. There’s no way at least some of the DoD missions involve using SpaceX’s existing capacity to ensure they’re keeping ahead of the Russians and Chinese air and space capacities.

        CRS-8 Dragon Technical Webcast

        It’s beautiful and painful to watch the mission at the same time. The crony crew was even able to land the first stage on a drone barge in the Atlantic.

        Too bad it’s all a Stalinesque sham. There is no true achievement of Max-Q. Nobody has the capability to hold together up til and then through the moment where the velocity and pressure of a vehicle reach its maximum difficulty. No one is reaching escape velocity either. All are captured and earthbound, and dare not even dream of anything different.

    • Why Fremont? Because they got a good deal on a working production facility. And the engineers don’t want to live in Shreveport.

      The portion of the cost of the car that comes from the labor (as opposed to raw materials and production tooling) is actually quite small.

  20. Thanks for the article.

    Even if an Elio was 15k out the door, it would make more sense than a Tesla. (I think Nikola is asking for his name back from Musk’s monstrosity.) $20k can buy plenty of gasoline at over 60+ mpg.

    I would like the Elio (or a similar car) succeed. It can be an incentive for other companies to make reasonably priced vehicles with excellent fuel economy.

      • eric, I’ll be damned glad to see you test one. I’ve been taking their newsletter since I was a kid……seems like. Imagine going from fantasizing about Lambo Miura to an “Elio”. Bring on the blue pill cause I don’t see it happening. I don’t “feel” it.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here