In some of the first positive news to come out of GreenTech in several months, the McLean, Va., company which plans to build cars in Mississippi says it has extended its partnership with Chinese automaker Jianghui Automotive Co. Ltd. to develop and make a 4-door, all-electric vehicle for the North American market.
GreenTech, with a pilot facility at Horn Lake and a full manufacturing plant planned for Tunica, has been in partnership with Jianghui to develop and produce environmentally sustainable, energy-efficient vehicles. Under the extended agreement, both companies will contribute their respective strengths based on their technology platforms, marketing and distribution channels, GreenTech says.
The U.S. start-up and its Chinese partner have both done extensive research and development in electric powertrains and battery management systems – two critical aspects of building the new all-electric auto they plan.
The companies created the partnership in 2012.
In October 2009, GreenTech’s owner, Chinese businessman Xiaolin “Charles” Wang, unveiled four prototype cars during a flashy ceremony and promised to build a $2 billion plant in the heart of the Mississippi Delta.
Besides backing from foreign investors, some 100 acres were donated by Tunica County’s economic development foundation, at a cost of $1.8 million, and in 2011 the state gave a $3 million loan toward site preparation. For a time, the company’s chairman was politically connected heavyweight Terry McAuliffe, the newly elected governor of Virginia.
The cars were supposed to start rolling off the assembly line in 2012. The company now hopes to start producing cars in Tunica next year, the Associated Press reported in August.
The company now uses a former elevator factory y 30 miles away in Horn Lake. It calls the plant a “a pilot” facility.
In an August statement to AP, the company said: “It takes time to build a brand new company in a capital-intensive industry like electric vehicles, and we will not cut corners on quality or safety as we progress. We have a plan. The plan is working. We’re sticking to it.”
The company said it has more than 100 workers and “once production is ramped up” should employ at least 350 — the same number of jobs required under the state loan agreement.