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USA: Electric car firm says it’s starting production

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) β€” An electric car maker plans another coming-out party Friday in north 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-seat neighborhood electric vehicle, a cross between a golf cart and conventional car, with a 115-mile range. The company has said it plans to sell a “sizeable percentage” of products to Denmark over several years. In the United States, such vehicles are allowed only on streets with speed limits of 35 mph and below. The vehicles are supposed to recharge from household electric outlets and sell for about $10,000.

The company says former President Bill Clinton and former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour will attend Friday’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 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.

Sally Williams, spokeswoman for the Mississippi Development Authority, said that the state hasn’t provided any assistance to the Horn Lake operation. She said Mississippi is “committed” to providing infrastructure aid, tax breaks and a loan to Tunica County to buy land there. However, Williams said she had no estimate of the value of that projected assistance and said details haven’t been finalized because GreenTech “is still assessing its needs related to its Tunica County plant.”

GreenTech had said Thursday that Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant would attend Friday’s event, but withdrew that statement after the governor’s office told The Associated Press that Bryant wasn’t going.
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