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Summary:

Terry McAuliffe’s highest profile fundraising efforts to date have been in the political arena. But now the former Virginia gubernatorial candidate and Democratic National Committee chair, a longtime ally of the Clintons, tells the Financial Times that he hopes to raise up to $1 billion to […]

Terry McAuliffe’s highest profile fundraising efforts to date have been in the political arena. But now the former Virginia gubernatorial candidate and Democratic National Committee chair, a longtime ally of the Clintons, tells the Financial Times that he hopes to raise up to $1 billion to launch several electric vehicles for the U.S. market.

In the latest step toward that ambitious goal, GreenTech Automotive — a holding company chaired by McAuliffe — has reportedly paid $20 million for the Hong Kong-based maker of an electric subcompact dubbed the MyCar. Built in southern China and sold in Europe, the MyCar is an electric two-seater that GreenTech Automotive aims to roll out stateside in 2011.

Maxing out at 40 miles per hour, the MyCar is what’s called a neighborhood electric vehicle, or NEV and is not meant for highway driving. McAuliffe told Reuters in a recent interview that GreenTech Automotive expects to sell the model for around $13,000-$15,000 on the U.S. market.

GreenTech Automotive emerged last year following a feud between the co-founders of a company called Hybrid Kinetic Automotive. Former partners Charles Wang and Benjamin Yeung fought over the Hybrid Kinetic moniker (among other issues) in federal court last summer before reaching a settlement and forming two green car startups. McAuliffe chairs the one headed up by Wang.

Before their split, Yeung and Wang had been planning to raise funds through a government program known as EB-5, which gives foreign investors a way to earn a visa by investing in U.S. companies. According to a report from the Alabama Press-Register in October, GreenTech still planned to utilize “a government program that grants U.S. permanent resident status to foreign investors who invest at least $500,000 in businesses that create at least 10 jobs.” GreenTech said in an announcement last fall that funding for a planned hybrid development and manufacturing facility in Tunica County, Miss. would come through the Gulf Coast Automotive Fund and “strategic investments.”

The company aims to eventually build a range of highway capable hybrid and electric vehicles, and according to its website has partnered with “leading European automotive technology companies to jointly develop the core technology.” GreenTech says it has completed four prototypes to date and hopes to start production in the U.S. within the next few years.

Photo courtesy of GreenTech Automotive

Related research on GigaOM Pro (subscription required):

Cleantech Financing Trends: 2010 and Beyond

IT Opportunities in Electric Vehicle Management

To learn about where some of Silicon Valley’s leading venture capitalists are investing and what areas of technology they think will be ripest for entrepreneurs to serve coming out of the economic downturn, check out the “Venture Catalysts” panel at our Structure event June 23-24 in San Francisco.

By Josie Garthwaite

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  1. How many people think that they can run an Auto company better than Detroit, Japan & Germany. These guys are putting billions each year into cars… why does everyone else want to waste money. If you haven’t looked this cars are a mature industry, like making steel. All of these start-ups don’t have any great advantage… so they want to put an electric engine into a car… what is the difference.

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    1. How many people? Seems like more every day.

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  2. NEVs are cool in controlled low-speed environments. Out in the real world (outside the gates), however, they pose too many safety issues. How many imported electric NEVs will the market absorb?

    If we want to make a large and immediate dent in the amount of oil imported into this country, we must use what works and is economically feasible right now. Clinton should spend a bit o time with T Boone Pickens and get the gospel of domestic CNG.

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  3. don’t CALL “My car” my car! Its a joke!
    What idiot would invent a billion in that instead of a normal project?

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  4. It’s now politically correct to be ‘green’ but it’s an illusion.
    There simply IS NO groundswell of people who are prepared to put their money where their mouths are. If there were we would have functional EVs by now, but we do not.
    As soon as the economy rebounds and gas prices go back down they’ll be all back to their Expeditions and Escalades.

    Now this Clinton lackey McAuliffe is spending other people’s money on a 40mph Chinese tin box. Oh good grief.

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  5. Funny how you never see the oil loving Bushes trying to support movements like these. I guess they are in a rowboat in the Gulf of Mexico trying to scoop up as much oil as they can.

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