By on July 28, 2011

Remember Hybrid-Kinetic Motors, the hugely ambitious venture by former Brilliance Chairman Yung Yeung that was supposed to build 300k physics-defying hybrids per year at a brand-new $1.5b Alabama factory (with the modest goal of producing a million vehicles per year by 2018)? H-K Motors was never taken very seriously here at TTAC, and despite appearing to be a visa scam, the firm signed a $500m design deal with Italdesign/Giugiaro, and was reportedly working with a German engineering firm… and Alabama’s Baldwin County sure took the firm seriously. Unfortunately, reports that

In 2009, Chinese company HK Motors had taken notice of the megasite and announced plans to build a $4.36 billion green energy automobile manufacturing plant that would employ 4,000 workers.

Under a plan unveiled two years ago, the Pasadena, Calif.-based subsidiary of Hybrid Kinetic Group Ltd., of Hong Kong, would start production in Baldwin County in 2013. The cars built there would run mainly on compressed natural gas, backed up by electric batteries and a small gasoline tank.
The company announced that it expected to build 300,000 vehicles each year at the outset, with production increasing to 1 million by 2018 by 5,000 local employees. The company purchased a battery manufacturer and other component businesses in subsequent months.

But local officials said last month they would be marketing the site to other companies with HK Motors apparently unable to secure financing for the venture.

I’m sure nobody’s surprised by this at all… after all, I never found anyone who believed a word of the Hybrid Kinetic mumbo-jumbo. But what reminded me of the H-K fiasco, and what led to me to find that it had officially abandoned Baldwin County (after it shouldered $70k in surveying costs, no less) was news that a hybrid van manufacturer is setting up shop in St Louis, which has lost Ford and Chrysler plants. What reminded me of the H-K situation? “Emerald Automotive Limited,” which is promising 600 UAW-represented jobs and gas- and diesel-electric delivery van production by the end of next year, doesn’t have a freaking website. That’s never a good sign…

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6 Comments on “What Happened To Hybrid Kinetic Motors?...”

  • avatar

    Brilliance Chairman Yung Yeung

    Bertel, what’s the difference in pronunciation between Yung and Yeung? Is there an ad agency in Beijing called Yung & Rubicam? Does Yeung like ’em young?

    I got a million of ’em. Try the veal. I’ll be here all week.

  • avatar

    The dot com crash made the general investing public a bit more wary of financial hucksters. Which caused the hucksters to move on to easier prey, like government officials. Who, after all, don’t have their own money at stake. And aren’t selected for their smarts as much as for their belief in their own abilities to manage what belongs to others.

  • avatar

    There are scams like this all over the country…here’s a New York State example.

    I’m going to put my pretty little head to work dreaming up a project that combines a sports stadium, a casino, and a green vehicle plant. Imagine the government funding I can get for that!

  • avatar

    Ed, my man, what do you mean by “what happened to Hybrid Kinetic Motors?

    Most likely the same thing that happened to flywheel technology 40 years ago.

  • avatar

    HK Motors is a scam perpetrated by the officers of the company and supported by local politicians who don’t have any knowledge or intelligence to realize they are being scammed.

    This company is not/ will not go anywhere.

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