V-Vehicle on the Hunt for $100M to Build Plastic Car

V-Vehicle, the secretive auto startup backed by the venture capitalists at Kleiner Perkins, has pulled back the curtain for the first time on its future fundraising plans, stage of development and design elements of its inaugural model, which includes a plastic shell.

CHEAT SHEET: Green Car Loan Winners & Losers

“Extremely surprised” and “shocked” are some of the words that secretive startup V-Vehicle and local officials in Louisiana have used this week in the wake of V-Vehicle’s failed bid for a federal loan to build a low-cost, high-MPG car. Is it really so shocking?

V-Vehicle: DOE Decides Against Loan for Stealthy Car Startup

V-Vehicle, the stealthy auto startup backed by T. Boone Pickens and Kleiner Perkins that aims to build low-cost, highly efficient, gasoline-powered cars, announced late Wednesday that it’s game over for the company’s bid to secure $321.1 million in federal loans. V-Vehicle had requested funds under the Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program, including $79.9 million for engineering integration and $241.2 million to set up manufacturing at an old General Motors (s GM) plant in Monroe, Louisiana. And V-Vehicle says the DOE program office has informed the company that it “will not recommend approval” of the applications.

V-Vehicle Misses Deadline, Loses Shot at $87M?

That looming March 1 deadline for V-Vehicle to raise $350 million — the amount that the T. Boone Pickens and Kleiner Perkins-backed startup needed in order to release the bulk of an incentive package put together by state and local authorities in Monroe, La., (or else request an extension) — has passed. According to reports in the Times-Picayune and The Car Connection, V-Vehicle was not able to put together the $350 million and thus has forfeited $87 million in cash and incentives from Louisiana for the company’s planned plant in Monroe.
V-Vehicle boosters, however, maintain that it’s not out of the running for $65 million in state grants and $15 million in local incentives just yet. U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander (R – LA) said Tuesday that he’ll press the Department of Energy to keep V-Vehicle’s $320 million application for a loan under the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program, the Monroe News-Star reported.
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Louisiana Greenlights $11.6M in Bonds for V-Vehicle Project

One of the last pieces that could deliver V-Vehicle — the secretive San Diego startup that’s aiming to build a highly efficient car in Louisiana — some hefty manufacturing incentives has just fallen into place. The Louisiana State Bond Commission gave the green light Thursday for Ouachita Parish (where V-Vehicle has begun preliminary work upgrading a factory) to issue $11.55 million in bonds to fund its share of V-Vehicle’s incentive package, The News Star reports.

According to the Bond Commission’s agenda for the meeting, this funding is meant generally to sweeten the deal for a vehicle manufacturer to locate its work in an old plant that once cranked out Guide Corp. headlamps, and more specifically, to help expand the facility. Read More about Louisiana Greenlights $11.6M in Bonds for V-Vehicle Project

Jumping the Gun: Big Hopes for V-Vehicle as Financing Deadline Looms

A March 1 deadline looms for V-Vehicle to raise $350 million — the amount that the T. Boone Pickens and Kleiner Perkins-backed startup needs in order to release the bulk of an incentive package put together by state and local authorities in Monroe, Louisiana (or else request an extension). And so there’s growing pressure on the 4-year-old company and its backers to show progress on a project that’s supposed to create more than 1,400 jobs, but has publicly revealed little more than a headlight and a factory site.
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Thursday in DC: DOE Chief to Deliver Green Car Loan Announcement

For at least one green car maker out there, tomorrow may be the lucky day. According to a press advisory from the Department of Energy today, Secretary Steven Chu will — drumroll please — “make a loan announcement” related to the agency’s advanced technology vehicle loan program at noon (EST) Thursday at the Washington Auto Show.

This could go at least a couple of ways, with Chu either announcing the closure of one of the loans that the DOE agreed to last year on a conditional basis. A far more interesting option, of course, would be the announcement of a sixth loan recipient.
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