T. Boone Pickens' V-Vehicle Isn't Dead Yet

VVC plant teaser

Oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens has a knack for picking underdog projects. The plan to build the largest wind farm in the U.S. fell through and was downsized to a few wind farms in Minnesota. And V-Vehicle, Pickens and Kleiner Perkins' secretive auto startup, had its request for $321.1 million in federal loans rejected by the Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program just last month. But V-Vehicle, at least, is still trucking along--the startup recently showed off a prototype of its V-Car to members of the media and Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, according to Green Car Reports.

V-Vehicle banned photos at the event, but we do have some details. The five-door hatchback is reportedly as wide as a BMW 5-series (73 inches), as long as a Toyota Corolla (179 inches), and styled like a cross between the Dodge Neon and Volkswagen Golf. The V-Car's body is made of composite materials, and buyers can reportedly add customized plastic "body wraps" featuring images of their choice. It all sounds a little tacky, but we're hard-pressed to say for sure until photos are released.

The vehicle's interior offers a dashboard made out of brown pressboard-like recycled material, seats covered in recycled orange-brown material, and standard features like air conditioning, power windows, and power locks. As for the V-Car's guts--we're still mostly in the dark. We do know that the car isn't a hybrid or EV and it features a high-efficiency gasoline engine.

But V-Vehicle's future isn't a sure thing yet. The company is still banking on those $321 million in low-interest loans to get production started at its Monroe, Louisiana production plant. At full production capacity, the company hopes to hire 1,400 people, but that's an ambitious number--the company needs millions in cash before it can even begin to hire a few hundred people. We'll be watching in the coming months to see if V-Vehicle can surprise us all and succeed.


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