Call it a 25 mph foot in the door.
Mississippi’s GreenTech Automotive (GTA) has announced plans to manufacture a battery-powered, five-passenger sedan at its Horn Lake assembly plant later this year.
The new vehicle is a collaboration with China’s JAC Motors, which will supply GTA with the rolling chassis of one of its existing, conventionally-powered sedans. GTA will then add an electric drivetrain based around a 19 kilowatt-hour battery pack that offers a range of up to 100 miles per charge.
But it might take a while to get there. At launch, the yet to be named car will be sold as a neighborhood electric vehicle, or NEV. This means it will come with a restricted top speed of 25 mph and won’t be required to meet the same vehicle safety standards as highway legal automobiles. GTA currently manufactures a smaller, two-seat NEV called MyCar that sells for about $15,500. All but four states allow NEVs be driven public roads with posted speed limits of 35 mph or less, while Alaska and Texas extend that limit to 45 mph.
GTA was founded in 2006 by financier Charles Wang and former Democratic National Campaign Committee Chairman Terry McAullife, who left the company in late 2012 to focus on his Gubernatorial bid in Virginia. MyCar production began last year and, while sales figures have not been released, McInerney says vehicles have been delivered to customers in both the United States and Europe and that the company has agreements for over 30,000 units over the next three years.
GTA executive vice president of sales and marketing Marianne McInerney says the new car will be targeted initially at commercial fleet customers, who can use them on corporate campuses and for other low-speed duty cycles, but that the company does plan to homologate it for highway use as production ramps up.
Pricing has not been announced, but McInerney says it will be competitive with other electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf, which currently sells for as low as $22,000 after federal tax credits have been deducted. GTA hopes to sell 2,000 of the cars in its first twelve months on the market, and 10,000 annually in subsequent years. GTA currently has a staff of about 100 people and expects to add 200 jobs with production of the new sedan.