Google Ventures fuels V-Vehicle with $63M

V-Vehicle Co., an electric car maker backed by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and former oilman T. Boone Pickens, has raised a $62.3 million Series B investment round that includes investor Google Ventures, PE Week has learned.

The company may expand the round to $66.3 million, according to a recent regulatory filing.

Google Chief Legal Officer David Drummond has joined V-Vehicle’s board of directors, where he will sit alongside Kleiner Perkins Partners Ray Lane (who is also chairman of V-Vehicle) and John Doerr and V-Vehicle founder Frank Varasano. Varasano is a former vice president of business software giant Oracle Corp., where Lane served as president and COO before joining Kleiner Perkins.

The Series B funding augments a $20 million Series A round the company had already raised from private investors.

San Diego-based V-Vehicle has also secured $82 million in incentives from Louisiana state and local governments to support the company’s planned launch of a manufacturing plant in Monroe, La., according to reports. The company cut a deal with the owners of a former General Motors production facility in June and may start producing cars from that location some time next year, according to reports.

The state economic development department said the car factory, scheduled to open next year after a $100 million revamping, is expected to ultimately employ about 1,400 people who will assemble V-Vehicle’s car, the details of which the company has not yet disclosed. What is known is that Tom Matano, who design the Mazda Miata, is leading the design team at V-Vehicle.

The company may get help beyond state and local government support. It has also applied for $340 million in federal loans.

Google may be the most aggressive investor in next-generation automobiles. Company founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are backers of electric sports car company Tesla Motors, according to reports., sometimes referred to as the company’s philanthropic arm, invested in electric car maker Aptera’s $24 million Series C in 2008.

Google also launched an investment program targeted at making rechargeable cars a part of the future. It gave $200,000 to California Cars, a non-profit that promotes plug-in electric hybrid vehicles. It also gave another $200,000 to California’s Electrical Power Research Institute to support the group’s research around electric cars, according to reports.

Kleiner Perkins has also made its fair share of car-related investments. It backed plug-in electric hybrid maker Fisker Automotive, which has raised $94 million from investors to build a stylish four-door. It also partnered with Think Global, a plug-in electric car maker, and VC firm Rockport Capital to launch Think North America, which would provide plug-in electric cars to the U.S. market.