In 2006, Elio Motors was a brand-new, legit-looking operation, and high-speed internet was nearly ubiquitous in most households. At the time, I was a weird 12-year-old middle schooler who was furiously checking Autoweek twice an hour for the latest morsel of car news on this newfangled invention called a blog. One fateful fall day, Motor Trend, released its stash of pics from the 2006 Geneva Auto Show. There were a lot of cool cars at that show, but one prototype stood out to me the most. A sleek-looking silver coupe that promised significantly more than 100 mpg, from a brand I had never heard of before. The Loremo. 

Back then, hybrids were still seen as super-complex and expensive bits of tech. Electric cars were pie-in-the-sky futuristic tech that most thought would never come to fruition in their lifetimes. To make cars environmentally friendly, automakers focused on working with what internal combustion could give.

The Loremo was such a project. The car took lightness and size to an extreme, and Road and Track described it as looking like an “overgrown go-kart.” The car’s chassis was said to weigh less than 200 pounds, and power would’ve come from either a 20-horsepower engine in the Loremo LS or a bigger 50-horsepower engine in the GT model. That’s not much power in any vehicle, but keep in mind Loremo said the car would weigh less than 1,000 pounds.

Loremo LS rear
Loremo LS interior

The Loremo was unique and stylish. It was smartly designed and carried characteristics of its mid-aughts time, featuring mid-’60s-era coupe design language crossed with an iPod Nano. You entered the car through the front, via a BMW Isetta-style canopy, and two narrow rear-facing seats, similar to the jump seats in the Tesla Model S, allowed you to carry two smaller passengers with you. In between the seats lied the engine, which powered the rear wheels.

Loremo LS Doors Open

As development progressed, Loremo ran into some problems. The company didn’t have a running or driving prototype for a long while, partially because it didn’t have an engine supplier. Production plans became iffy, investors pulled out, boardroom members were reshuffled, and Loremo’s 2009 production date looked unlikely. Loremo made a few last-minute changes in vain, such as switching to a potential gas-powered engine instead of diesel and announcing an electric version, but it wasn’t enough.

In 2010, Car and Driver reported that Loremo ran out of money, and one of the prototypes was held by a shop because the company hadn’t paid for services rendered. That wasn’t the end, though, at least not yet.

By 2011, it appeared Loremo had scrounged up some money and was able to restructure and refinance a bit, at least according to a google translate version of a now-defunct version of its website from 2016. The design renderings had changed a bit, and the shiny chrome wheels were replaced with less-interesting spoked designs. The two-toned roof was now body-colored, and the rear, once sleek, now housed Nissan Skyline-style round taillights.

Sometime in 2012, Loremo planned to do a prototype test drive with the TÜV, but it rescheduled to early 2013 after claiming it needed more development time on their engine. The 2013 prototype never came to fruition, and the company has been silent ever since. German media speculated that the prototype in the video was the lone running and driving Loremo prototype. As of today, the Loremo site is dead, and it seems like the German court dissolved the company officially in 2017. 

It’s a disappointing, but not particularly unexpected, ending, as the original Loremo prototypes were good-looking. I hope one still exists. I think if it were upsized to real car standards, and given conventional doors, it could be an attractive electric coupe.