How Tesla may burn past legislators in a three-wheeled ‘car of the future’


The Elio autocycle is no Tesla Model S. Weighing just 1,200 pounds, the enclosed three-wheeled vehicle has an 8-gallon tank engineered to get up to 84 miles on a gallon of gasoline, according to the Phoenix-based company Elio Motors. The driver and passenger, who must sit in tandem, are encased in a narrow pod—two front wheels jutting out in a reverse tricycle effect.

Despite their vast differences in design, price, and fuel source, both U.S. companies do have the same sales strategy. Elio Motors, like Tesla [fortune-stock symbol=”TSLA”], wants to bypass the traditional dealership franchise and sell its $6,800 autocycle directly to the consumer.

Elio hasn’t produced any autocycles yet. And yet Michigan lawmakers, who last October banned Tesla from selling directly to consumers, have introduced legislation that would clear a path for Elio to begin selling cars—that is, once it starts making them.

The bill, introduced by…

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