Virtual tour sparks debate on when Elio Motors will start produc - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Virtual tour sparks debate on when Elio Motors will start production

Elio Motors released a virtual tour of it's Shreveport facility. (Source: Elio Motors via Youtube.) Elio Motors released a virtual tour of it's Shreveport facility. (Source: Elio Motors via Youtube.)
Former General Motors plant where Elio Motors is said to produce its 3-wheeled vehicle. (Source: Eric Pointer/ KSLA News 12) Former General Motors plant where Elio Motors is said to produce its 3-wheeled vehicle. (Source: Eric Pointer/ KSLA News 12)
(Source: Eric Pointer/ KSLA News 12) (Source: Eric Pointer/ KSLA News 12)
CADDO PARISH, LA (KSLA) -

The company that plans to build a 3-wheel car opened its doors to a virtual tour of its Shreveport facility and opened the door for questions from future investors.

The facility has yet to open because of many delays. It was originally slated to start production in 2014. The production date has now been pushed back to 2017.

Now, because of newly-released video, some Elio supporters think they are closer to getting started.

Ken Epperson is the Caddo Parish Commissioner for the district where the plant is. He says he did his part as an elected official to help Elio.

"By making funds available. By putting them into a position where administrators could work out a deal," said Commissioner Epperson. "I'm just sitting back and waiting on it to happen."

There are some people, like former Mayor Cedric Glover, who are skeptic of the new video.

In a statement Glover said, "Not sure how that is real news. A more helpful video would be one that details why after more than three years worth of promises and delays, this project is still not sufficiently capitalized to move forward."

Glover's full statement reads:


The video recently released by Elio Motors confirms what many of us already know. That being, we have a 3.4 million square feet, $1 billion+ state-of-the-art asset that the citizens of Caddo parish were able to take ownership of for only $7.5 million. That happened in large part because of a group I helped form and lead back in December of 2008. That's the good news. (See the attached link) The bad news is that these public assets are now unilaterally controlled by Stuart Lichter under the false premise that Elio Motors will one day employ 1,500 Shreveporters.

The narrator of the video, Mr. Frick, has already been a part of the Elio project for some time now as a member of a local engineering firm. It appears that he is simply shifting from one payroll to another. Not sure how that is real news. A more helpful video would be one that details why after more than three years worth of promises and delays, this project is still not sufficiently capitalized to move forward. An even better video would be one from the RACER Trust that explains why they and some local leaders insisted on leading this situation in this direction in the first place when other more viable and potential filled options were and still are available. 

District 3 Caddo Parish Commissioner Steven Jackson was also skeptic of the video.

"While Elio's hiring of a plant manager can be perceived as progress, their latest fundraising efforts as reported by the Wal Street Journal shows the company still has insurmountable financial barriers to overcome. I wish Elio well in their ventures, but will not support doing such  at the expense of  deceiving Caddo taxpayers any further. Nor depriving the opportunity for our region to recruit and acquire a stable tenant to provide quality jobs." 

Elio Motors CEO Paul Elio hosted a virtual conference for potential investors. KSLA News 12's Eric Pointer was logged in to try and get some answers to questions like how many jobs it will bring and when those jobs will come. 

Many of those questions went unanswered. One of the only answers we did get, was that the production start date is expected to move back again to next year.

"We used to give a month and a year and now we're just giving a year because as we get closer and try to refine it, the date may move slightly," said Paul Elio. "But we are definitely targeting 2017."

Commissioner Epperson went on to say this isn't the first time they've seen delays like these. He says when G-M announced they were coming, it took about 9 years before they opened. 

Copyright 2016 KSLA. All rights reserved.

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