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.