Bricklin Tackles the X-Prize
By EV World
Malcolm Bricklin is the consummate showman. Some think he's more an illusionist.
One of the auto industry's most colorful entrepreneurs, he seems to be able to get things done just by sheer force of will, but if that's what it takes to put the next generation of super-efficient motorcars on the roads of the world, then so be it.
He again demonstrated his knack for grabbing the limelight by staging, with the organizers of the Automotive X-Prize, a telephone press conference today to officially announce his company, Visionary Vehicle's intention to enter the competition, now slated to officially launch sometime in 2008. While Bricklin covered much of the same ground he did when EV World interviewed him earlier last month [Malcolm Bricklin's New Electric Car Dream], he did reveal that his commitment to building the car in China has eroded somewhat due to the string of quality control problems that have beset the quasi-capitalist/communist powerhouse of late.
As you'll hear from the salvo of questions fired at Bricklin by the attendant members of the working online press, there is a lot of skepticism about the viability of Bricklin's plan and timeline. While clearly not short of energy and enthusiasm, Bricklin's venture sounds like its still short of the necessary millions it needs to make this bold project happen. He did let it be known that he will shortly be announcing a $50 million* first round of funding, which in the larger scheme of things, is a drop in the bucket to develop a project of this scope, something that Mr. Bricklin acknowledged to me in a follow-up telephone call. He is still counting on a significant infusion of capital from his dealers, which he explained to EV World in somewhat more detail during our exclusive interview with him. He admitted that the entire project is going to be closer to half a billion dollars, when all is said and done.
You can listen to the entire press conference using either of the two MP3 (Quicktime, Windows) players above or by downloading the file to your computer hard drive for playback on your favorite MP3 device. And, if you've not yet subscribed to EV World's weekly Update newsletter, be sure you do so you can keep abreast of developments at companies like Visionary Vehicles and the many others seeking not just to win the Automotive X-Prize, but to change the course of civilization.
* EV World erroneously reported that the funding was for $6 million.