Running for the 2009 Virginia Democratic gubernational nomination, chairing the Democratic National Committee and importing cars isn't on everyone's resume, but former Chairman of Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign Terry McAuliffe has just added electric cars to his.
Now 53 years old, McAuliffe was in London a few months ago when he came across a strange little two-seat electric car charging at the side of the street. He was so impressed with the vehicle that he begged the man driving it to let him have a go, paying $100 as security to prove he wasn't some crazed car-jacker.
McAuliffe then spent the next two months courting the Hong-Kong based company with intent to acquire it to add to his year old green-investment holding company, GreenTech. The acquisition was finalised last week at a total price of $20 million.
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McAuliffe plans to sell the vehicle as a second car for use as an errand-running vehicle in the suburbs, weighing in at under half the expected price of the 2012 Chevrolet Volt, or $13-16,000. It's certainly a cheap way to get into electric vehicles. But not a particularly fast one.
Undeniably, a market exists for low speed electric vehicles, but continued safety concerns of low speed vehicles on public highways in the U.S. will impact sales.
McAuliffe's GreenTech Automotive plan to build highway capable vehicles in the near future which will obviously attract more buyer interest. Of these, two will be hybrid vehicles, one will be electric, and one an efficient gas-powered car.
Sadly for GreenTech Automotive, the only vehicle at the moment in production is the MyCar. While it may be perfectly at home in the U.K., its limited performance puts it squarely in the Neighborhood Electric Vehicle category in most states.
Plans are afoot to build all of the GreenTech Automotive range in the U.S., but first all vehicles must endure the tortuous task of going through crash testing and DOT approval.
Until GreenTech Automotive can ally itself with specific states willing to allow the MyCar to be driven as a medium speed rather than low-speed vehicle or can produce a highway capable EV the company is unlikely to even get consideration from most car buyers.