Elio Motors Looks to Trump Buddies for Help
Elio Motors might be looking for help from the Trump administration to find funds to help the flailing car company get off the ground.
Elio has a deal to use the old GM plant in Shreveport to build its 3-wheeled-cars. But several local folks don't believe it will ever happen.
The Daily Beast reports two former Trump campaign officials have created a new lobbying firm and their first client is Elio. The report says Mike Rubino and Jason Osborne, two high-level Trump campaign operatives started a D.C. based company called Turnberry Solutions.
Elio is looking to the lobbying firm to try to get help from the federal government. One possibility is a cash infusion from the federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards, which set average mileage requirements for U.S. automobiles. Companies that produce cars in the high mileage category are eligible for assistance from the feds.
During a May visit to Shreveport, the owner of the company Paul Elio showed his frustration about getting this project moving.
The proposed 3-wheeled car Elio wants to build in Shreveport is expected to get 84 miles per gallon. But there is a problem. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does not classify the Elio car as an "automobile". That's where Turnberry will try to help. The lobbying firm is expected to try to convince those federal officials that the vehicle is a car which will make the company eligible under the CAFE standards (Corporate Average Fuel Economy). If Elio qualifies for the federal credits, those could be sold to other auto companies.
“We could generate extensive future revenues through the sale and transfer of these credits to other auto industry manufacturers,” the company said in a recent statement to shareholders. But “we do not qualify for participation in the CAFE program, since the Elio is not an automobile. We have been working with members of Congress and with the former acting head of the NHTSA to permit participation in the program by autocycles.”
Elio is also applying for a loan from the Federal Government to the tune of $185 million. This would come from the the Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program, which supports electric, alternative-fueled, and high-mileage car manufacturers.
A year ago, Elio hired Heather Podesta and partners, but this was when most predicted Hillary Clinton would win the White House. Heather Podesta was a major fundraiser for Clinton.
Elio is facing of deficit of nearly $145 million and has again pushed back plans to begin production locally.