As 4,700 lose jobs at auto plant, electric car maker lobbies for government help

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California's only auto plant is closing Thursday, adding 4,700 auto workers to the ranks of the unemployed, but an electric car company that has yet to build a car is asking for public support so it can save those jobs by using the labor to build electric cars.

Aurica Motors wants to convert the New United Motor Manufacturing plant, also called NUMMI, in Fremont, Calif. to build electric cars, battery packs and charging stations. It doesn't have a deal with NUMMI to take over from Toyota, but on its Web site Aurica is asking people to supports its plan for government stimulus funding and federal Department of Energy grants to keep the plant open for the next two years while it ramps up production.

Giving government money to auto makers hasn't gone over too well with the American public after the bailout of Chrysler and GM, and with Tesla Motors getting a $465 million DOE loan. Aurica's Web site doesn't say how much money it needs.

Its E-Car has a quick swap battery that can be charged in three minutes at one of what it calls "PEP (Power Exchange Package) modular charging kiosks." Or it can be plugged in at home. Each wheel has its own electric motor.

The body style can be swapped out for a new look since the cars are built on the same chassis. For a third of the price of a new E-Car, owners can change to a car that fits their changing lifestyle: sporty economy car, mid-sized 4-door sedan, SUV hatchback, or a light pickup truck.

The company doesn't have a manufacturing plant, but on its Web site lists the closing NUMMI plant as its plant. That may be wishful thinking, and without a prototype to show on its Web site, it makes you wonder if Aurica is fishing for money while trying to convince government officials (and the public) that it can save jobs in California.

Remember the Michigan man who got a $9 million tax break without having a product to sell? For Aurica, where's the car? Drawings on a Web site are nice, but it might take more than that to convince the government to give it a loan or a handout.
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