Regular readers of this space at Torque News know that this author is relentlessly optimistic about nearly everything in the electric vehicle industry. Yet here is a story that I simply cannot find a way to put a positive spin on.
GreenTech Automotive is a small startup electric vehicle maker that once showed great promise or never showed any promise at all, depending on who you ask. It has been the subject of political and legal controversy in the past, but we won’t comment on that here.
In 2009, the company announced it would begin production in three years, ultimately hoping to produce 250,000 vehicles annually at a facility in the Mississippi Delta. Not surprisingly, the deadline wasn’t met and the volume has been brought down to earth quite a bit – the company’s goal now is 30,000 vehicles annually. But even that may be ambitious, given the recently-announced pricing of the MyCar two-seater and G2 sedan neighborhood vehicles.
InsideEVs reports that the MyCar will start at $17,140, while the G2 sedan will command a starting price of $21,250.
Why is that a problem? Here’s why: neither vehicle is capable of traveling more than 35 mph. Neighborhood electric vehicles are one thing – neighborhood electric vehicles priced to compete with a Mitsubishi i-MIEV, smart fortwo ED or Honda Fit are quite another.
Here are the specifications:
10.5 hp motor, 25 mph top speed, range of 60-65 miles, 16.7 kW/72 V lithium iron phosphate battery pack (it is unclear from the official spec sheet what the actual energy capacity of the battery is), 1,058-pound curb weight
35 hp motor, 25-35 mph top speed, range of 50-75 miles, 12.3 kWh lithium iron phosphate battery pack, 2,480-pound curb weight
Both vehicles list European specs as well as U.S., so maybe the company is banking on lots of European sales. However, we do not see either vehicle selling very many units at all in the United States. If both vehicles were freeway-capable, maybe (although that’s a whole different ballgame in terms of safety and regulations). But the market for neighborhood electric vehicles costing as much as a well-equipped compact car is negligible, if it exists at all.
A 2013 quote from Joe McCabe, president of AutomotiveCompass, which forecasts global vehicle and powertrain production, is relevant here (via the previously linked Huffington Post story).
"A brand-new electric car company without an established U.S. partner, or global partner, is a lofty goal. They're one of several other electric manufacturing startups entering a tough market. They have to come with something better to the game, not just an also-ran."
It definitely doesn’t look like GreenTech Automotive has something better. We wish them luck, but this is one electric vehicle venture that seems destined for the scrap heap.