Monday, May 20, 2013
The Associated Press
JACKSON, Miss. - An electric car maker plans another coming-out party today in northern Mississippi.
GreenTech Automotive says it will unveil its MyCar electric vehicle line in Horn Lake, just south of Memphis, Tenn. Some auto industry analysts have questioned whether the company will succeed.
MyCar is a two-seater neighborhood electric vehicle, more than a golf cart but less than a conventional car, with a 115-mile range. The company has said it plans to sell a "sizeable percentage" of the cars produced to Denmark over several years.
In the U.S., such vehicles are allowed only on streets with speed limits of 35 mph and below. The vehicles are supposed to recharge using a household electric outlet and sell for about $10,000.
The company says former President Bill Clinton and former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour will attend today's event. Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe is chairman of GreenTech, based in McLean, Va. The CEO is Chinese businessman Charles X. Wang.
GreenTech announced in 2009 that it would build a massive factory in Tunica County, Miss., unveiling four models of full-sized electric cars at a Tunica casino. Those plans changed, though, after McAuliffe got involved and GreenTech acquired MyCar.
GreenTech had said it would start production in late 2011, but missed that deadline. The company said it still plans to build a 200,000- to 300,000-square-foot factory in Tunica County. It also says it plans to progress from neighborhood electric vehicles to full-sized cars. But for now, it's leasing a former elevator factory in the Memphis suburbs of DeSoto County, Miss.
Originally, GreenTech said it would raise money from foreign investors through the EB-5 visa program, which allows investors to obtain residency in the United States in exchange for putting a certain amount of money into a business venture and creating jobs. It's not clear whether GreenTech is still soliciting foreign investors.
The GreenTech project has encountered intense skepticism from some auto industry analysts, who say it's unlikely that an untried player will be able to break into the fledgling electric vehicle market without very deep pockets.