Sep 09

GreenTech promises American-made electric cars this year

 

Strumming the heartstrings of what many Americans want to hear, this week Virginia-based GreenTech Automotive announced American production of green energy cars that would compete favorably with China.

In a reversal of the usual, GreenTech’s chairman – and former Democratic National Committee chairman – Terry McAuliffe said the company will begin manufacturing Smart-sized MyCar neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs) in Mississippi.

“I am sick and tired of seeing our jobs go to China,” McAuliffe told MSNBC recently. “I am sick and tired of seeing big cargo ships coming in from China.”


The MyCar was designed for a Hong Kong firm GreenTech acquired in 2010.

The two-seat vehicles are said to begin production this year, and McAuliffe has pledged to make available the first 100,000 for a mere $10,000 each before subsidies.

Earlier plans to import them from China are on hold although the company’s CEO says an assembly plant in the desert of Inner Mongolia is still being constructed.

We’ll get to that shortly, but this week’s news is the MyCar will be the first of several hybrid and electric vehicles made in America, by Americans, with plans to heavily export them as well.

The MyCar was originally designed by Giorgetto Giugaro’s Italdesign and discovered by McAuliffe on a trip to London.

Performance reports vary, but the car may be capable of about 70 miles maximum range, with a maximum speed of 50 mph, although in the U.S. as an NEV it would be limited to 25 or 35 mph.

The first exports are intended to go to Denmark for European distribution later this year where higher speeds may be permitted.

In its press release, GreenTech says the Danish company Greenabout, which distributes electric vehicles and related products and services, “will purchase a sizable percentage of GTA’s MyCar production through 2014.”

And of these announced American beginnings, McAuliffe shared his vision.

“This agreement is a major step in the relationship we have proudly formed with Danish leaders,” said McAuliffe. “We share a desire to create and utilize affordable green transportation and with this MyCar agreement, we are making broad strides to begin selling our American-made MyCars throughout Europe. Not only does this agreement reflect our principles of affordable green energy, it also means new manufacturing jobs in America.”

Similarly, Greenabout CEO Per Boesen expressed his enthusiasm.

“GreenTech’s MyCar is proof that it is possible to create high-quality, sustainable products. We will be helping to reduce carbon emissions and creating new jobs in Denmark and elsewhere across the globe,” Boesen said. Earlier this year, Denmark released its “ambitious, highly-praised ‘Energy Strategy 2050,’” which calls for the creation of a fossil-free energy network, independent from oil, coal, and gas by 2050.

A little bit of background

To be fair, we gave you the positive spin up front, although as you will see, industry observers have expressed strong words of doubt for this venture’s viability.

First off, whether NEVs are even a great idea is in question. The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) has issued warnings for consumers to stay away from NEVs because they don’t have to pass crash tests. When subjected to them informally, they invariably allow catastrophic or fatal injuries to their would-be occupants.

The Truth About Cars has followed the GreenTech story and reported some “stranger than fiction” dealings in the saga of the company said to have been founded in 2006.

Originally GreenTech was an offshoot of Hybrid Kinetic Motors, founded by Yang Rong – who also goes by Benjamin Yeung. He was the former CEO of Chinese automaker, Brilliance.

It was in 2009 that a pin was stuck on the U.S. map in Alabama as a future site of manufacturing for GreenTech cars. At that time, Rong and GreenTech’s current CEO and former founder of Brilliance, Charles Yang developed plans that fell apart before coming to fruition.

The New York Times reported that in 2001, due to his success at Brilliance, Forbes ranked Yang as China’s third-richest tycoon, with an estimated wealth of $840 million.


CEO Wang and Chairman McAuliffe in Mongolia.

The Times recently interviewed Wang who said plans were indeed still proceeding at “warp speed” to build the assembly plant in Ordos, Inner Mongolia.

Wang told the Times it would be completed by the end of 2012 and have capacity to produce 300,000 vehicles per year.

As for this week’s Mississippi plans, GreenTech has found it expedient to “rely heavily” on funding provided by the “EB-5” Immigrant Investor Program.

This federal program provides green cards and permanent residency to foreign nationals and their families who contribute $500,000 or more to a successful business in rural areas and areas of high unemployment.

In a story the Times wrote last year titled “Green Cards for Green Cars,” it was shown affluent Chinese were escaping their homeland by buying their way into America’s heartland.

This week the Times reported that Wang said GreenTech “has been utilizing the EB-5 program as part of our funding sources.”

To do what the company intends to do will take billions. The company told Automotive News it is well funded, but did not disclose details.

Audacity of Hope

Automotive News has reported that McAuliffe’s plans for a bright American green future are – to be charitable – perhaps a wee bit optimistic.

On second thought, let’s forget being charitable: Actually the term used by Automotive News writer Charles Child is that the plan is “dead on arrival,” and he also wrote:

“What keeps the vision alive is McAuliffe’s audacity. With confidence and verve, he spells out his job-creating optimism on friendly national cable shows such as “The Daily Rundown” and “The Ed Show,” also on MSNBC … Bold auto visions are fine. But they require staggering amounts of money and manpower. And there’s no tangible indication that McAuliffe has either.”

Child reported GreenTech of McLean, Va., a suburb of Washington D.C., has around 50 employees, and hopes by year’s end to have 100.

In contrast, just to expand its advanced-tech research and development, GM has hired around 2,000 engineers, let alone other employees.

And while it makes for a great sound bite to promise the first 100,000 MyCars for $10,000 apiece, consider that International Market Solutions showed the U.S. market for NEVs last year was less than 26,000 units

GreenTech did concede this when to an Automotive News inquiry it replied: Neighborhood electrics “are a small market for sure, at least right now. We have a few ideas on how to create some awareness and build that market. Our goal of 100,000 units is a cumulative sales figure over time. We look forward to achieving that.”

So the plan as it stands is to get the ball rolling by selling over one hundred thousand NEV death traps, as the IIHS essentially calls them, to a limited market. In the U.S. they will be banned from streets with speed limits over 45 mph, and the launch date for other green cars is nowhere in sight. Despite saying it has wads of cash ready to go, last week GreenTech scaled back plans to build hybrids and electrics at its Mongolia plant in 2013.

“Our expanding product portfolio, including hybrid and electric full-speed vehicle will come in due time and we have not yet set a timetable for the next product introduction” after this year’s NEV, said a GreenTech statement. “We fully understand the challenges in time, money, and technical expertise to produce a quality hybrid or electric vehicle.”

What to believe?

In the mean time, if you want an exciting story offering hope to the flagging American manufacturing sector and more, take the face value of news GreenTech is promising as it says thousands of American jobs will be created leading back toward greater domestic self reliance.

It has not convinced analysts or experienced reporters, as Truth About Cars editor Edward Niedermeyer expressed plainly.

“I’ve only been blogging about the car industry for about three and a half years, but I’ve seen this movie way too many times before,” he said. “If you’ve missed out on the ZAP saga, to cite the most infamous example of the ‘NEV today, domination tomorrow’ scam, read this, this, this and this for a primer on how this game works. It’s not pretty, and I hoped it was left behind in 2008, when it still fooled a few people. Today there’s no excuse for anyone to be taken in by such an unimaginative, played-out scam.


McAuliffe and his friend Bill Clinton discuss the MyCar.

It would be really great if detractors are proven wrong. But if GreenTech plans turn out to be “over the top,” as Automotive News says, it will be a disgrace to have built up hopes when the means to get there amounted to little more than a tired re-run of the usual chutzpah.

That McAuliffe has been sufficiently plausible to some should come as no surprise however, as he is past master at playing the right note from his days in high-level politics.

McAuliffe has a law degree from Georgetown University, and was a fundraiser for Jimmy Carter’s unsuccessful re-election campaign, and an “exceptionally effective” fundraiser for Bill Clinton’s presidential bids.

In 2000 Al Gore called McAuliffe “the greatest fundraiser in the history of the universe.”

On GreenTech’s Web site his biography says under his leadership the Democratic National Committee set party records by raising more than $535 million.

However the source that cited the Al Gore quote, Discoverthenetworks.org, also noted of his political dealings:

McAuliffe is particularly adept at the raising of soft money – funds that, by endorsing an overall cause or party rather than a specific candidate, are legally permitted to exceed the limits normally placed on contributions to a political campaign. Because they are not bound by such restrictions, soft money contributions are often so large – frequently in excess of $100,000 – that donors naturally expect to receive some form of payback in return for their generosity. McAuliffe’s soft money strategy was responsible for President Clinton’s 1996 scandal concerning the Lincoln Bedroom sleepovers and the White House coffees, two tactics employed to solicit huge donations from wealthy friends and patrons of the Clintons.

McAuliffe reportedly also initiated and chaired President Clinton’s multimillion-dollar legal defense fund during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, and has been investigated by federal officials for questionable business deals.

In 2009, he ran for Governor of Virginia, but was unsuccessful, and prior to that had headed Hillary Rodham Clinton’s unsuccessful presidential campaign.

Even left-leaning political commentators have called him a hypocrite for saying the way to create more American jobs is to build a large assembly plant in China.

But McAuliffe says he has started 25 businesses and they’ve all made money.

That he has talent, is connected, and knows how to network is not in question.

Last week, GreenTech’s Alan Himelfarb, executive vice president for strategic planning, told Automotive News he knew there were skeptics, but said, “We are very realistic about the challenge.”

GreenTech says it will pull off McAuliffe’s passion for green cars and desire to bring renewed optimism to Americans, and – to be charitable again – we’ll note that stranger things have happened, and it would be terrific if such grand plans could actually work out.

If they come to pass we will be in line to give credit where due. In the mean time, as others have said already, we’ll believe it when we see it.

The Truth About Cars, Wheels Blog, Automotive News (subscription req’d).

This entry was posted on Friday, September 9th, 2011 at 5:55 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 67


  1. 1
    Raymondjram

    +6

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Raymondjram
     Says

     

    Sep 9th, 2011 (7:32 am)

    As another American EV, I wish all the success it needs. I believe that in the future, this statement from Terry McAuliffe should changed from:
    “I am sick and tired of seeing big cargo ships coming in from China.”

    To:
    “I love seeing big cargo ships coming in from China empty, and returning full with our American vehicles”.

    May it so, Terry!

    Raymond


  2. 2
    Roy_H

    +9

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Roy_H
     Says

     

    Sep 9th, 2011 (7:49 am)

    NEVs are dangerous and should not be allowed on public roads.


  3. 3
    Roy_H

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Roy_H
     Says

     

    Sep 9th, 2011 (7:57 am)

    What do insurance companies have to say about NEVs? Are the rates low or high?


  4. 4
    Jim I

    +21

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Jim I
     Says

     

    Sep 9th, 2011 (8:06 am)

    NEV’s are a mistake.

    A few people will get killed, smashed by a big truck or something, and in the press it will be “Electric Cars Are Not Safe To Drive!!!”

    And who wants a car that can only go 35 MPH?????????????

    Thanks, but no thanks.

    Make mine a black 2012 Volt with all the options! Wait – that is what GM will be building for me in 17 more days!!!!!!! :)

    JMHO


  5. 5
    Bonaire

    +4

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Bonaire
     Says

     

    Sep 9th, 2011 (8:36 am)

    Sounds like “make it small, make it cheap, make it slow” is the mantra here. Yes, a mini car like that with city-driving only is plausible in cities and neighborhoods that support it – with charging and parking infrastructure for these little guys.

    These would go over best on large campuses like Apple HQ, Google, in-town of Manhattan, Toronto, Hong Kong or London. Will the driver survive a 25 mph crash with a busy, distracted taxi driver in a Crown Royal or Minivan? Hard to know. They have to be as strong as a Smart Car.

    My neighbor has a GEM e2 car and they buzz around in it and can go ~25mph. This new car’s main competition is the GEM (owned by Chrysler) – and the GEM is already established and in use as utility vehicles, security cars for malls and so on. But numbers show GEM has produced less than 50,000 since 1998 – this new company touts 100,000 under $10K which is a stretch for a “new company” to pull off.
    http://www.gemcar.com/
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Electric_Motorcars


  6. 6
    kdawg

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    kdawg
     Says

     

    Sep 9th, 2011 (8:53 am)

    So no more info on the red “hybrid sports car”?

    “Ordos, Inner Mongolia” <—- sounds like a town in Middle-earth from LOTR.

    To me, it seems a bit like McAuliffe has got into bed w/China and is going after all the new Chinese money. Hopefully this isn't the (only) motivator, and he does have success w/more green technologies such as his bio-mass plant.


  7. 7
    nasaman

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    nasaman
     Says

     

    Sep 9th, 2011 (8:53 am)

    Now here’s a plug-in Fox News’ Neil Cavuto can empty his spleen on without so much derision!*

    *…And he’s a life-long liberal Democrat, Neil, so you’ve got TWO good reasons to hate him! :)


  8. 8
    N Riley

    +5

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    N Riley
     Says

     

    Sep 9th, 2011 (9:46 am)

    One more for the road. I think this vehicle strategy has about as much of a chance of succeeding as us solving world peace. Seems more like a scheme to bilk the American taxpayer out of millions and millions of dollars. Maybe it will stop in the millions. Thanks, but no thanks!


  9. 9
    N Riley

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    N Riley
     Says

     

    Sep 9th, 2011 (9:53 am)

    kdawg:
    So no more info on the red “hybrid sports car”?

    “Ordos, Inner Mongolia” <—- sounds like a town in Middle-earth from LOTR.

    To me, it seems a bit like McAuliffe has got into bed w/China and is going after all the new Chinese money.Hopefully this isn’t the (only) motivator, and he does have success w/more green technologies such as his bio-mass plant.

    The big problem for him with the Chinese is that they will not stand to be bilked out of their money and show this as a disgraceful act employed against them. They won’t go after him through the courts, like maybe it would happen in the U.S., but will take him down permanently. A court fight would just hang their laundry out for the whole world to see, but a $1.50 slug would solve their problem with very little fuss. IMO.


  10. 10
    N Riley

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    N Riley
     Says

     

    Sep 9th, 2011 (9:58 am)

    Several years ago I considered purchasing a NEV, but after really looking at them through “clear glasses, not rose colored ones”, I decided my family members were worth a lot more to me than saving a few dollars in fuel cost. There are places where NEVs serve a good purpose, I know. I am not trying to say they are inherently bad for the purpose they are designed for, but they would not work for me. It just seems like this deal is a little “oily”, to use an old term to describe a shady deal. The guy has always been a really good “snake oil salesman” type and this project befits his skills very well. Again, IMO.


  11. 11
    Jeff Cobb

    +4

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Jeff Cobb
     Says

     

    Sep 9th, 2011 (10:32 am)

    kdawg:
    So no more info on the red “hybrid sports car”?

    Even if you can find facts on the car, it could be years from production, and specs will change, so that’s partly why I did not write about it. — As pictured, it is a hodge podge of design elements typical of such rush-to-market quasi knockoffs.

    http://www.wmgta.com/en/products/future-product/

    From the company’s Web site (rhetoric and no hard facts) –

    Following closely in MyCar’s tire tracks will be several variants of fully NHTSA- and EPA-certified, full-speed, all-road vehicles.

    Such as…?

    We’re not about to give away the what and the when just yet. Our competitors might be listening. But some of the suspects could include small, compact and midsize sedans, a crossover or three… maybe even a sports car.

    What we can tell you is that each of these vehicles will employ GTA’s internal product planning, marketing, design, engineering and development capabilities, along with assistance from some of the world’s best supplier organizations.

    And staying true to GTA Chairman Terry McAuliffe’s guiding principle—No green technology is truly green until it is Afforbably Green—each of these future products will be powered by efficient, state-of-the-art hybrid and electric powertrains, offering exceptional performance and range at a price that will challenge all competitors.


  12. 12
    Steve

    +7

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Steve
     Says

     

    Sep 9th, 2011 (11:16 am)

    When you take the limitations and safety into account, $10k seems too much. Two seater, 70 mile range, speed limited to 35mph, poor crashworthiness. Want to commute in this? It’s a fancy golf cart.


  13. 13
    Isaac

    +5

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Isaac
     Says

     

    Sep 9th, 2011 (11:33 am)

    That’s the pathetic looking car, can one call this a car?


  14. 14
    Steverino

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Steverino
     Says

     

    Sep 9th, 2011 (11:35 am)

    Hybrids, EV’, and EREV’s combined are a niche market currently.

    This car would be a niche of a niche if ever built, along with the trikes-that-would-be-cars, the Aptera’s, and the like. Marginal vehicles for a marginal market.

    We may see cars like these on the road someday in some quantity, but that day may be 20 years from now.


  15. 15
    DonC

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    DonC
     Says

     

    Sep 9th, 2011 (11:48 am)

    Seems like an immigration play/scam more than anything. NEVs are a niche, but it’s a niche that seems to already be filled.


  16. 16
    Tall Pete

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Tall Pete
     Says

     

    Sep 9th, 2011 (12:01 pm)

    Raymondjram: “I love seeing big cargo ships coming in from China empty, and returning full with our American vehicles”.

    Unfortunately, that would mean that China has become a lot richer and America a lot poorer which, I hope, will not happen.

    OT : I will test drive the Nissan LEAF next monday and the Volt later this month. Exciting times indeed.


  17. 17
    BDP

    +4

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    BDP
     Says

     

    Sep 9th, 2011 (12:16 pm)

    Golf cart status. Nothing more.


  18. 18
    kdawg

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    kdawg
     Says

     

    Sep 9th, 2011 (12:19 pm)

    Looks like the universities may lead the way to energy independence.
    Michigan State University plans to go 100% renewable. (i’m not sure how they are going to power their particle collider?). I believe MSU has the largest campus in the world.

    From today’s news
    ———————————
    A Michigan State official is talking about the university’s efforts to go green. The talk is taking place at a luncheon for the mid-michigan environmental action council Friday.

    MSU says they plan to convert campus energy from coal and natural gas to 100 percent renewable energy. The environmental council is hoping the plan serves as a model for other units of government.

    But a student group called MSU Greenpeace isn’t convinced the university is committed to clean energy. So members are holding a mock funeral Friday for Sparty, the university’s mascot.

    The group plans to gather at the Hannah Administration Building dressed in black with white flowers pinned to their shirts. They say the funeral represents Michigan State’s future if it doesn’t transition from coal to 100 percent renewable energy sources.


  19. 19
    Bonaire

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Bonaire
     Says

     

    Sep 9th, 2011 (12:28 pm)

    The way this CEO speaks reminds me of the CEO of the company many of my co-workers, and I, just left. All talk, no results. I have to guess we will want to book-mark this thing and revisit it in a year or two to see if it pans out. I don’t know if this will even make it to the assembly-line point of production. Some “snag” will occur to hold up the whole thing.


  20. 20
    James

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    James
     Says

     

    Sep 9th, 2011 (1:03 pm)

    Great article Jeff! I like how you started out positive, as if we had a new player out there we could be optimistic about…But as I began to look at the “car”, hear of it’s limitations and history… the article just wound out – confirming my initial thoughts. Thanks for all the detail and background – this is a scam.

    I read about Hybrid Kinetic Motor’s a year or so ago – they purchased a Guigiaro concept car – a beautiful piece of machinery I had read about in an auto mag months before. The one-off dreamcar/showcar had a wedgy-sexy body, solar panels and a Toyota V-6 with HSD. The two former heads of Brilliance purchased the car and coined it the “Quaranta” http://www.google.com/search?um=1&hl=en&biw=960&bih=512&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=Quaranta&oq=Quaranta&aq=f&aqi=g3g-m7&aql=&gs_sm=e&gs_upl=5040l8400l0l8848l11l11l1l0l0l0l208l1337l4.5.1l10l0 ( I still haven’t figured out how to post pics here with the latest gen search engines ). The newly-formed “Hybrid Kinetic Motors” emerged as a visa scam for Chinese investors with a minimum “investment” of $500,000 using the mentioned EB- 5 Immigrant Investor Program. Later, HKM penned a deal with Guigiaro’s ItalDesign to design these vapormobiles for a half billion dollars! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/01/hybrid-kinetic-motors-inks-500m-deal-with-italdesign-giugiaro/

    PUMP OUT THE VOLTECS! ,

    James


  21. 21
    James

    +7

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    James
     Says

     

    Sep 9th, 2011 (1:18 pm)

    Funny how this icon of Democratic fundraising jumped on this scam and how, instead of the stylish hybrid supercar – they’re touting a flimsy neighborhood golf cart! Whooo-eee! Do we have time for this?!!! There’s so much REAL NEWS AND PROGRESS happening in the EV-PHEV world!

    Remember the fates of Think and Zap – and all the hype. There just plain is no market for these types of vehicles beyond what GEM already has covered. It would be different if this story didn’t include such grandiose promises and predictions of automotive manufacturing and jobs. But a story about a Chinese startup to make a competitor for GEM just doesn’t gather much attention.

    For me, this story details some of the incredible nonsense that is going on in the name of “green jobs” and “green tech”. Of course, people are going to take advantage if those kinds of money are being thrown around. Sadly – I agree with others it’s horrible PR for EVs in general.

    Also – There aren’t many stories out there that more plainly reveal why we need extreme measures to establish campaign finance reform! Soft money is our big soft spot that constantly threatens to bring down the world’s most balanced democratic system.

    RECHARGE! ,

    James


  22. 22
    T 1

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    T 1
     Says

     

    Sep 9th, 2011 (1:24 pm)

    Thanks for The Daily Llama.

    Tomorrow’s: Eestor Goes to Hollywood.


  23. 23
    T 1

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    T 1
     Says

     

    Sep 9th, 2011 (1:32 pm)

    kdawg: They say the funeral represents Michigan State’s future if it doesn’t transition from coal to 100 percent renewable energy sources.

    It actually represents the U of Miami’s, as they’ll be underwater, literally.


  24. 24
    kdawg

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    kdawg
     Says

     

    Sep 9th, 2011 (1:57 pm)

    Tall Pete: Raymondjram: “I love seeing big cargo ships coming in from China empty, and returning full with our American vehicles”.
    Unfortunately, that would mean that China has become a lot richer and America a lot poorer which, I hope, will not happen.
    OT : I will test drive the Nissan LEAF next monday and the Volt later this month. Exciting times indeed.

    Actually both boats are full. We ship them all the raw materials (and other commodities). They build stuff with it and ship it back to us.


  25. 25
    kdawg

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    kdawg
     Says

     

    Sep 9th, 2011 (2:09 pm)

    Steverino: Hybrids, EV’, and EREV’s combined are a niche market currently.

    What’s the definition of niche, meaning, at what qty is it no longer niche? I just see that word tossed around a lot and it would be nice to define it better.


  26. 26
    Jeff Cobb

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Jeff Cobb
     Says

     

    Sep 9th, 2011 (2:15 pm)

    James: Great article Jeff! I like how you started out positive, as if we had a new player out there we could be optimistic about…But as I began to look at the “car”, hear of it’s limitations and history… the article just wound out – confirming my initial thoughts. Thanks for all the detail and background – this is a scam.

    Thanks James.

    James: I read about Hybrid Kinetic Motor’s a year or so ago – they purchased a Guigiaro concept car – a beautiful piece of machinery I had read about in an auto mag months before. The one-off dreamcar/showcar had a wedgy-sexy body, solar panels and a Toyota V-6 with HSD. The two former heads of Brilliance purchased the car and coined it the “Quaranta” http://www.google.com/search?um=1&hl=en&biw=960&bih=512&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=Quaranta&oq=Quaranta&aq=f&aqi=g3g-m7&aql=&gs_sm=e&gs_upl=5040l8400l0l8848l11l11l1l0l0l0l208l1337l4.5.1l10l0 ( I still haven’t figured out how to post pics here with the latest gen search engines ).


  27. 27
    kdawg

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    kdawg
     Says

     

    Sep 9th, 2011 (2:17 pm)

    James: Remember the fates of Think and Zap – and all the hype. There just plain is no market for these types of vehicles beyond what GEM already has covered.

    Don’t forget the Kurrent built in Wixom MI

    http://www.getkurrent.com/home.html


  28. 28
    James

    +5

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    James
     Says

     

    Sep 9th, 2011 (2:24 pm)

    The article does a great job of illuminating Terry McCauliffe’s history of master used car salesman. Here’s some background you should know about Mr. Wang and Mr. Yeung. This kind of fills in all the details if any of us are wondering if this is truly a scam or a story of promise.

    I found this bit of background on the other major players at GreenTech Automotive, HKM, or HK Motors Greenleaf Motors, or whatever they’ve chosen to call it today. Here’s an exerpt from Bertell Schmitt’s article revealing the sordid details of both men and their disgusting scheme involving former presidents, known Chinese embezzlers, big money and big scandal. Seriously – Jeff, you tapped into a story that could be a very good best-selling book!

    About Benjamin Yeung ( aka: Mr. Yang ):

    ““In the early 1990s, Yang was one of the first entrepreneurs to strike it rich in China’s auto industry. He was hailed in China as part of a new generation of savvy businessmen and credited with catapulting Brilliance from making dreary buses into BMW’s partner in making BMW 3- and 5-series cars.”

    “But in 2002, after feuding with a Chinese provincial governor over the location of a new factory, Yang found himself charged with unspecified economic crimes. He fled the country under a false passport for Los Angeles, where he joined his wife and four children. Most of his own personal wealth had to be abandoned in China.”

    Automotive News missed the good part. The dispute was about more than a location of a plant. It was about who owns what of Brilliance, a company that became the first Chinese corporation listed at the NYSE after 50 years. According to this account in the China Auto Review, Yang “was forced out as chairman of Brilliance China and served a warrant for allegedly committing “economic crimes of embezzlement of state assets” in late 2002.” Here is one of the many lengthy court documents, in case you have the time.

    To make it short, China would love to have Yang back, but he’s not coming.

    Yang went on to found the Hybrid Kinetic Motors company, which we had chronicled in 2009 under the Farago regime. Hybrid Kinetic Motors promised to bring a huge car industry to the American equivalent to Inner Mongolia, a place called Northern Mississippi. Rong had explained to Automotive News [sub] that the plan was to “build a $6.5 billion auto plant in northern Mississippi, where he would hire 25,000 workers to eventually produce 1 million cars a year.” It will happen real soon now.”

    About Mr. Wang ( McAuliffe’s business partner in GreenTech ):

    “Xiaolin Wang was Rong’s lawyer and business partner at Hybrid Kinetic. Yang Rong, no stranger to feuds, started a new feud with his lawyer. Says Automotive News:

    “Yang’s project split in two after a falling out between him and the man he had appointed to manage it: his former attorney and Chinese entrepreneur Xiaolin Wang.”

    “Yang — listed in court documents as Benjamin Yeung, the name he uses in the United States — sued Xiaolin Wang and three other project managers. Yang alleges that the other managers had been steering control of the venture away from Yang and had begun operating under a different but similar name.”

    “Yang’s venture is called Hybrid Kinetic Automotive Holdings Ltd. Xiaolin Wang and the others had been operating as Hybrid Kinetic Automotive Corp.”

    An out-of-court settlement had Xiaolin Wang change the name of his company. It was known as GreenTree Automotive, and was either later renamed to GreenTech, or Bill Brabec, the Jackson, Miss. attorney for Xiaolin Wang, had the name wrong. Or who knows.

    Hybrid Kinetic, run by Yang or Yeung, and GreenTech, run by Xiaolin “Charles” Wang, went forth and operated in parallel.

    Both attracted investors via the EB-5 visa program, a scheme which the Center for Immigration Studies along with many others call either “a scam” or “investor fraud.”

    —————————————————————————————————————————————

    Bertell Schmitt’s full article can be found here:

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/clinton%E2%80%99s-sleepover-fundraising-maven-breaks-ground-for-300000-car-factory-in-inner-mongolia-while-chinese-head-to-the-u-s-on-500000-green-cards/

    It explains Bill Clinton’s involvement and trip to China to promote this deal. If you read Jeff’s article, I think this one is highly insightful and worth reading to gain the full picture. It’s fascinating reading, but long – maybe put it aside for when you have time to read it!

    RECHARGE! ,

    James


  29. 29
    James

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    James
     Says

     

    Sep 9th, 2011 (2:52 pm)

    When you watch videos attached to these articles, it’s crazy how optimistic and excited politicians get when there is some promise of a new automobile factory going up in their district/town/state/country.

    We hear lofty proclamations, numbers of job projections and excited details from experts re: support companies and the jobs and commerce this will bring to their area. We also know said politicians are infamous for writing off property taxes and business fees for any company promising to build such a plant – and how that favoritism often returns to be a deficit, not a plus for their economy.

    Besides sweetheart deals to auto manufacturers – it’s just sad to me – this psuedo optimism and self promotion that goes on anytime a politician smells fodder to bolster one’s political aspirations. It’s why the outcry of “jobs, jobs, jobs!” from everyone in politics ( including last night ) just makes my eyes roll as government programs bloated with waste and mismanagment seem to grow on trees.

    Hybrid Kinetic (which sometimes calls itself “HK Motors” – something that in China can be easily confused with “Hong Kong Motors”), was incorporated in Delaware, is headquartered at Pasadena, California, and wants to open a plant in Baldwin County, Alabama. Governor Bill Riley confirmed to HK Motors that “HK Motors could apply for and receive all statutory incentives based on the company’s proposed $1.5 billion investment.” On HK Motor’s website it says that letter “officially confirmed that approximately $1 billion in incentives is available to HK Motors.”

    You just see these politicians from Washigton D.C., to Mississippi to Alabama just glowing in the light of McCauliffe, Wang and Yeung’s promises. Ugh!

    RECHARGE! ,

    James


  30. 30
    lousloot

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    lousloot
     Says

     

    Sep 9th, 2011 (3:15 pm)

    Thanks Kdawg!

    Thanks Kdawg!

    “Starting at $9,800 USD*

    STANDARD FEATURES: Unlike other neighborhood vehicles, Kurrent comes standard with doors, a windshield, windshield wipers and a roof. ”

    But what if I want to save some cash, can I get one without the doors and roof?

    Is the floor removable so I can flinstone it?


  31. 31
    Jackson

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Jackson
     Says

     

    Sep 9th, 2011 (3:31 pm)

    NEVs represent the electric car as it existed prior to the Tesla, Volt and LEAF. “Cars” like this have existed in some form since the ’60′s, and have never gone anywhere … quickly, that is. The practical niche for such a vehicle is so narrow that the business case has never made sense: It is only safe to use in a private, gated, traffic controlled community (like a retirement development); most people in this position would just as soon drive an actual golf cart.

    One only needs to view the fellow-travelers and political leanings of the project supporters to get it’s measure. MyCar is a fantasy conveyance for a fantasized America which can never really exist. It can’t drive on a real road, has no real safety, is useless for any uncontrolled long-distance travel, and has no real purpose beyond the promotion of dubious political ideals: It is a concept for an America dependent on mass-transit, where long-distance travel is authority-controlled and monitored, marked by reduced energy use, a climate-hugging consciousness, and a vast reduction in our economy. Maybe this is acceptable to Socialist Statists across the pond; but they have been capable producing their own for years, and haven’t.

    Could it be that having failed to eliminate the hated automobile from American culture, MyCar represents the far-Left’s next best thing: a car no sane person would want? This vehicle is the sort of thing that supporters of real, relevant energy security cars like the Volt must overcome. In my opinion, this is not something to embrace with “the more the merrier.”

    MyCar marks a tide going out which will lower all boats.

    … and BTW: If you’re one of the third of Americans who think that the current administration is just the cat’s meow, you must surely be aware that it could suffer a backlash from the remaining two thirds in the next election. Any association of the Real electrics with Obama and the Left today will end up hurting vehicle electrification in the very near future: even though the real story behind them is almost antithetic to the ideology MyCar represents.

    You left-coasters may make your [ - ] votes now …


  32. 32
    Randy

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Randy
     Says

     

    Sep 9th, 2011 (3:35 pm)

    With incentives you could sell a lot of these even at a higher price than $10,000 before.


  33. 33
    DonC

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    DonC
     Says

     

    Sep 9th, 2011 (4:02 pm)

  34. 34
    Jackson

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Jackson
     Says

     

    Sep 9th, 2011 (4:10 pm)

    DonC,

    6olgcz.jpg

    Nice.

    It would be better for those tempted to make a gawky NEV to build a beautiful BEV like this one instead. A BEV still isn’t a real car for most people, but something like this has much more utility than any glorified golfcart. Any electrified vehicle should also stand in opposition to those who insist on hitting EVs with the ugly stick — like the guys at the top of today’s thread.


  35. 35
    Steverino

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Steverino
     Says

     

    Sep 9th, 2011 (5:39 pm)

    kdawg: What’s the definition of niche, meaning, at what qty is it no longer niche?I just see that word tossed around a lot and it would be nice to define it better.

    I believe that by saying “Hybrids, EV’s, and EREV’s combined are a niche market currently” the word niche was defined. Said another way, the slice of the total auto sales that hybrids, EV’s, EREV’s, and the like currently account for is small. Or, compared to ICE cars, this is a small slice, or “niche”.

    But you could also apply the term to muscle cars, as in “the muscle car niche”, or even place EVER’s in its own niche (Volt, Karma).


  36. 36
    Eco_Turbo

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Eco_Turbo
     Says

     

    Sep 9th, 2011 (6:57 pm)

    So, it’s almost $50,000 to drive to work, (Volt) and $10,000 to get a loaf of bread. (MyCar) I hope salaries increase, because the future is beginning to look pretty darned expensive. 8-(


  37. 37
    Steverino

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Steverino
     Says

     

    Sep 9th, 2011 (7:12 pm)

    Eco_Turbo:
    So, it’s almost $50,000 to drive to work, (Volt)

    I paid $34k for my Volt after the tax credit.

    I don’t know where you buy your cars, but you may want to let your wife shop for you. She should be able to easily save you about $32k on a Volt, haha.


  38. 38
    john1701a

    -1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    john1701a
     Says

     

    Sep 9th, 2011 (8:07 pm)

    kdawg: What’s the definition of niche, meaning, at what qty is it no longer niche?I just see that word tossed around a lot and it would be nice to define it better.

    Mainstream has been defined as production & sales in this market as a minimum of 5,000 per month… which is why the particular quantity of 60,000 annual pops up so often over the past decade.


  39. 39
    MichaelH

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    MichaelH
     Says

     

    Sep 9th, 2011 (8:56 pm)

    On the lighter side of things:

    “The muscle cars have a new king.”

    http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2011/09/09/2012-chevy-camaro-zl1-packing-580-hp/?test=faces

    “Chevrolet has announced that its upcoming 2012 Camaro ZL1 will come packing 580 hp under the hood when it goes on sale early next year, which would make it the most powerful muscle car in America . . .”

    Not very green, but some here will like it.


  40. 40
    Jackson

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Jackson
     Says

     

    Sep 10th, 2011 (12:02 am)

    MichaelH: Not very green, but some here will like it.

    Guess it depends on the paint job, LOL.

    The ZL1 is also a niche vehicle, a niche unlikely to expand very far moving forward … unlike some others we could name.

    ;-)


  41. 41
    pat

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    pat
     Says

     

    Sep 10th, 2011 (8:49 am)

    It seems that BEV will be tuff to sell in US. These niche cars will be mostly bought by the educated, citizens concerned about the reliance of US on imported oil but the reuglar joe/jane could not care less about this concern/concept .. Toyota may be right on Prius and avoid getting into BEV end of cars. Shame but consumers rule in this game.


  42. 42
    CorvetteGuy

    +4

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    CorvetteGuy
     Says

     

    Sep 10th, 2011 (11:28 am)

    Guess who’s got a deposit down on one of those?

    crusty.jpg


  43. 43
    Rashiid Amul

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Rashiid Amul
     Says

     

    Sep 10th, 2011 (11:51 am)

    NEV’s are DOA in this country.
    Why are Earth would someone want to be tethered to an NEV?
    Limited range before needing a tow, and waaayyyy to slow.


  44. 44
    Gabbo

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Gabbo
     Says

     

    Sep 10th, 2011 (12:12 pm)

    Colleges like MSU are soo full of BS – always trying to play up to the liberal left, but then quietly stick it to them with outrageous tuition increases. Oh – they always try and blame the increases on the private sector, too.


  45. 45
    SteveK9

    -1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    SteveK9
     Says

     

    Sep 10th, 2011 (12:15 pm)

    I don’t know why so many here are so negative about NEV’s (golf carts). For a lot of years I rode a bicycle to work on residential streets. An NEV is quite a bit safer. I think these are great. There are a lot of people that don’t need to drive on a highway to get to work, and practically no one that needs one to get to the grocery store or pick their kid up at the local High School. There is a place for these and it would be nice if the street in front of my house had more of these on it.

    It’s easy to attribute all kinds of sinister motives to McAuliffe, but I prefer to think of him as one of those dinosaurs, a Democrat that cares about working people.


  46. 46
    Roy_H

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Roy_H
     Says

     

    Sep 10th, 2011 (12:18 pm)

    Jeff:

    Another major battery break-through. http://www.greencarcongress.com/2011/09/alginate-20110909.html

    This one is truly spectacular in that it is 8x energy density, extremely high power density, tested at 1000 cycles without degradation, cheap, and non-toxic.

    However, like most of the other announcements, this is just for the anode. In order to realize these incredible specifications, it has to be mated with an equally impressive cathode. I would say that the anode issue is now solved, and what we need is a similar break-through for the cathode.


  47. 47
    Dave K.

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Dave K.
     Says

     

    Sep 10th, 2011 (3:52 pm)

    Shoppers looking for very low end EV will probably lean more toward electric scooters than deluxe golf carts. The new wave of EV must be substantial, dependable, and safe. Kind of like the Chevrolet Volt.

    No Plug, No Sale.


  48. 48
    kdawg

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    kdawg
     Says

     

    Sep 10th, 2011 (5:30 pm)

    Steverino: I believe that by saying “Hybrids, EV’s, and EREV’s combined are a niche market currently” the word niche was defined. Said another way, the slice of the total auto sales that hybrids, EV’s, EREV’s, and the like currently account for is small. Or, compared to ICE cars, this is a small slice, or “niche”.
    But you could also apply the term to muscle cars, as in “the muscle car niche”, or even place EVER’s in its own niche (Volt, Karma).

    That still doesn’t define it. What car isn’t niche and why? What percentage of sales does it have to have to no longer be called niche? Or is there a qty of sales that defines it?


  49. 49
    kdawg

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    kdawg
     Says

     

    Sep 10th, 2011 (5:32 pm)

    john1701a: Mainstream has been defined as production & sales in this market as a minimum of 5,000 per month… which is why the particular quantity of 60,000 annual pops up so often over the past decade.

    So by your definition, the Volt will be “mainstream” in 2012 and no longer niche.


  50. 50
    SteveK9

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    SteveK9
     Says

     

    Sep 10th, 2011 (7:51 pm)

    Dave K.,

    Can’t carry much on a scooter. I can still see a Mom picking up someone after school in one of these. A scooter, not so much.


  51. 51
    SteveK9

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    SteveK9
     Says

     

    Sep 10th, 2011 (7:56 pm)

    On the safety issue. I live in NH and (at least when it is not freezing) the roads are full of motorcycles … with riders wearing no helmets (this is the ‘live free or die’ State). Admittedly, the customer demographic is likely to be a bit different, but I’m not sure fear of SUV’s will kill these.


  52. 52
    SteveK9

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    SteveK9
     Says

     

    Sep 10th, 2011 (8:01 pm)

    Don’t get me wrong. I love the Volt (ever since I read that article in the Atlantic maybe 4 years ago). I’m trying to get the owner of the company where I’m working to look at one.

    But, I think these could definitely have a place and I’m not sure how ‘niche’ that will be. They should certainly be relatively simple to build.


  53. 53
    Eco_Turbo

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Eco_Turbo
     Says

     

    Sep 10th, 2011 (8:24 pm)

    SteveK9,

    Hey, there’s always trailers. 8-)

    scootertrailer.jpg


  54. 54
    Eco_Turbo

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Eco_Turbo
     Says

     

    Sep 10th, 2011 (8:30 pm)

    SteveK9: the roads are full of motorcycles … with riders wearing no helmets (this is the ‘live free or die’ State).

    Sadly many of those will die for living free. Death is pretty final, no more Fox News or CNN, so you won’t see how all this comes out.


  55. 55
    Eco_Turbo

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Eco_Turbo
     Says

     

    Sep 10th, 2011 (8:42 pm)

    MichaelH,

    The write-up says Ford has an answer to the new Camaro, I wonder where their answer to the Volt is…


  56. 56
    Roy_H

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Roy_H
     Says

     

    Sep 10th, 2011 (8:55 pm)

    Well, I took a look at the insurance issue. Turns out that insurance is low to very low. Insurance rates are based on historical payouts for a given class. NEV drivers are generally retired, careful, and do not spend a lot of time on public roads, so accidents are rare. Also insurance is based on fault determination, that is in an accident where a driver of a big car may be driving at night in rain could see dim, close together tail lights ahead and conclude the vehicle is far away. Suddenly it becomes apparent that the vehicle is close, small and slow. If an accident ensues, fault will be with the driver rapidly approaching the slow NEV. The car driver’s insurance will go up, but the NEV’s rates will remain low (even if the driver is killed). Conclusion is that low insurance rates do not imply that the vehicle is safe.


  57. 57
    Jeff Cobb

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Jeff Cobb
     Says

     

    Sep 10th, 2011 (9:49 pm)

    Roy_H,

    Thanks Roy. You can always send me tips at jcobb@verticalscope as well.

    Regards.


  58. 58
    Jeff Cobb

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Jeff Cobb
     Says

     

    Sep 10th, 2011 (9:51 pm)

    Does anyone want to go next door to the Volt-in-China article and weigh in on the last few comments?

    http://gm-volt.com/2011/09/08/chevy-volts-eligibility-for-chinese-buyer-incentives-hangs-in-the-balance/


  59. 59
    MichaelH

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    MichaelH
     Says

     

    Sep 10th, 2011 (11:18 pm)

    Eco_Turbo:
    MichaelH,

    The write-up says Ford has an answer to the new Camaro, I wonder where their answer to the Volt is…

    Good question. I keep hearing rumors that something is coming. More likely they’ll try to answer the Leaf first.


  60. 60
    john1701a

    -2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    john1701a
     Says

     

    Sep 11th, 2011 (9:42 am)

    kdawg: So by your definition, the Volt will be “mainstream” in 2012 and no longer niche.

    This was the definition Prius was measured against for many, many years. So, using anything else would be hypocritical for anyone doing any type of compare. Remember, that’s just a minimum anyway. To be a top-seller, far more are needed. As for the answer, better read the post again. It states all 60,000 must be in the same market.


  61. 61
    Roy_H

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Roy_H
     Says

     

    Sep 11th, 2011 (10:12 am)

    john1701a: Mainstream has been defined as production & sales in this market as a minimum of 5,000 per month… which is why the particular quantity of 60,000 annual pops up so often over the past decade.

    Sounds like a very reasonable definition of a niche car to me. I take it that “this market” means in the USofA. It should be given as a percentage so then you could apply that to any country, like say Iceland.


  62. 62
    Raymondjram

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Raymondjram
     Says

     

    Sep 11th, 2011 (11:47 am)

    Roy_H:
    Jeff:

    Another major battery break-through. http://www.greencarcongress.com/2011/09/alginate-20110909.html

    This one is truly spectacular in that it is 8x energy density, extremely high power density, tested at 1000 cycles without degradation, cheap, and non-toxic.

    However, like most of the other announcements, this is just for the anode. In order to realize these incredible specifications, it has to be mated with an equally impressive cathode. I would say that the anode issue is now solved, and what we need is a similar break-through for the cathode.

    The technology is very exciting, and the comments are interesting to read. One of them must learn how to use the kA (kiloAmpere) unit instead of writing so many zeroes.

    Raymond


  63. 63
    Roy_H

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Roy_H
     Says

     

    Sep 11th, 2011 (12:16 pm)

    Jeff Cobb:
    Does anyone want to go next door to the Volt-in-China article and weigh in on the last few comments?

    Very interesting reading, I have nothing to contribute, but I think you all provided important and valid points.


  64. 64
    Eco_Turbo

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Eco_Turbo
     Says

     

    Sep 11th, 2011 (6:14 pm)

    Jeff Cobb,

    Not so different from GM’s Hywire which is from almost a decade ago.

    Hywire.jpg


  65. 65
    SteveK9

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    SteveK9
     Says

     

    Sep 11th, 2011 (7:09 pm)

    Eco_Turbo,

    Hilarious. What makes you think I ride a motorcycle. Or, watch Fox news? Or CNN for that matter.


  66. 66
    Eco_Turbo

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Eco_Turbo
     Says

     

    Sep 11th, 2011 (7:54 pm)

    SteveK9,

    You’ll notice I was referring to “those” people.


  67. 67
    Jen

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Jen
     Says

     

    Sep 16th, 2011 (5:16 am)

    CorvetteGuy,

    I have been looking and looking for the website, or a phone number…bing google yahoo, everywhere and nothing. Can you give me the link or phone number or just the website for greentech? Thanks much if you would, my e-mail is: goingreeninfo@yahoo.com