Local company to begin production on $6,800 three-wheeled vehicle

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One of the most unique vehicles to soon hit the marketplace is a three-wheeled machine called the Elio.

Its distinct design is attracting a lot of attention. But the biggest impression is being made with its cost and expected fuel efficiency.

CEO Paul Elio expects the vehicle to get 84 miles per gallon and he plans to sell it for $6,800.

"That's what gets me up every day is that this project matters. We really can make a difference with it," said Elio.

Since he was 8 years old, Elio says he has dreamed about having an auto company that brandished his name.

A reporter with the Phoenix Business Journal recently referred to Elio as a modern day Henry Ford. That's a comparison he is flattered by, but he calls that label premature.

"He (Ford) really changed the world. I think we have the opportunity to. I think we have to execute before we earn anything like being called Henry Ford," said Elio.

Technically, the Elio is classified as a motorcycle because of its three wheels.

"We call it an auto cycle. I think it's a new category," said Elio.

Many states including Arizona categorize the Elio as a motorcycle. The company pushed legislation nationwide to exempt its vehicle from special permit and helmet laws.

"It doesn't make sense to wear a helmet in this vehicle. It's actually more dangerous if you're belted in to have extra mass on your head," said Elio.

Ironically the legislation failed here in Arizona because of a controversial rider attached to the bill. Elio expects a clean bill to pass next year before the units start rolling off the assembly line.

Elio expects a 5-star safety rating once the vehicle goes through crash testing. He's aiming to create 20,000 jobs in the U.S. in the next 18 months.

Ninety percent of the parts used to make the vehicle are American made.

The company just announced an association with Pep Boys to be the official service provider of the Elio.

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