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Will the rubber really hit the road for GreenTech Automotive (GTA) this year? The company said "yes" last week after announcing that it finished building its factory in Tunica, MS. With that done, the company's low-speed neighborhood-electric vehicles (NEV) will start production by the end of 2014. In the meantime, the company is shipping its stuff over from a temporary factory in Horn Lake, MS, about 30 miles away.

Backed by big political actors like Terry McAuliffe, the company is now under federal investigation

TUNICA, Miss. (AP) - It seemed like a win for everyone involved when a startup car company, backed by political heavyweights, wooed investors with plans to build a massive auto plant in the Mississippi Delta, hire thousands of people and pump out a brand new line of fuel-efficient vehicles.

If you're campaigning for Mitt Romney and believe in the electrification of transportation, you're kind of between a rock and a hard place. While Romney previously had supported electric and other non-petroleum vehicles, more recently, he's shifted his focus to freedom from foreign oil through domestic, clean oil drilling. Once upon a time, after all, Romney said the Chevrolet Volt was an "idea whose time has not come."

Founded in 2009 by former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe, GreenTech Automotive is currently prepping its first neighborhood electric vehicle, the MyCar, for launch in the U.S. and distribution throughout Europe.

Greentech Automotive was founded in 2006 by former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe, but you could be forgiven if you forgot about the company over the last five years. McAuliffe, who managed the unsuccessful presidential campaign of Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2008 and lost a bid for the governorship of Virginia in 2009, seemed to have put his transportation efforts on the back burner. In the meantime, Greentech – which was planned in partnership with the former CEO of

Take a look at the left column of the chart above. As displayed in a new report called "Automaker Patent Assets Intelligence Report" by PatentCafe.com, this chart shows that GM's green tech patent focus is far, far smaller (as a percent of total portfolio) when compared to the rest of the auto industry. Note, though, that this chart is based on 2007 data and the "green tech" category isn't exactly perfectly defined. PatentCafe is still willing to make the following claim:

Development of the Chevrolet Volt may be continuing full-speed for now at GM but that program is the exception rather than the rule at the General. Everywhere else in the company, programs and introductions have been delayed. The combination of excess inventories of existing vehicles resulting from slow sales and cash flow issues have caused vehicles such as the Saturn Vue and Two-Mode hybrid and the plug-in version to be delayed. If GM were to start building the new strong hybrid Vue they would

Green and racing don't seem like natural allies. Making a car more environmentally friendly or making a racecar go faster seemed to be at opposite ends of the spectrum when it came to automotive technology. And yet there have been glimpses of the two coming together for the benefit of all. The Audi R10 immediately springs to mind. Well now the world's premiere motor sport is getting into the swing of things as well.

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