Democratic Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe quietly resigned late last year from the electric car company he founded, the company confirmed Friday.

McAuliffe stepped down as GreenTech Automotive Inc.’s chairman sometime before Dec. 1, which is the date of a letter from GreenTech’s chief executive, Charles Wang, accepting McAuliffe’s resignation. Wang’s letter, forwarded by a company official Friday, thanks McAuliffe for his service but does not mention any reason for his departure or specify the date of his resignation.

McAuliffe’s resignation was first reported by Politico.

Until now, neither the company nor McAuliffe’s campaign appeared to have announced that McAuliffe had stepped down as chairman, and on the company’s Web site is a news release dated Dec. 3 about a car show that identifies McAuliffe as such.

Several uncorrected media reports also have identified McAuliffe as GreenTech’s chairman, including an article by PolitiFact Virginia that took him to task over why the company was in Mississippi instead of Virginia.

Terry McAuliffe (Evan Agostini/Associated Press)

The campaign of Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II, the Republican candidate, questioned the transparency and viability of McAuliffe’s campaign and business venture.

“Terry McAuliffe stepping down as chairman of GreenTech is an admission of failure where he has been claiming success. McAuliffe believes his business acumen qualifies him to be governor of the Commonwealth and this revelation completely invalidates the central premise of his candidacy,” Cuccinelli said Friday.

McAuliffe, who finished second in a three-way primary contest in 2009, paid $20 million for EuAuto Technology, a Hong Kong-based company manufacturing an electric vehicle called MyCar. He has promoted the company as an example of his business acumen and his promise to spur Virginia’s economy.

In an e-mail Friday, campaign spokesman Josh Schwerin said McAuliffe “verbally” announced his intention to resign from GreenTech before filing to run for governor.

“Terry was about to start running for Governor and knows that it is a full time job doing so. This is the same reason Virginian Attorney Generals traditionally resign when running for Governor,” Schwerin wrote.

A state filing forwarded by the campaign said McAuliffe still holds GreenTech stock worth more than $250,000. The filing also said neither he nor anyone in his family operates or controls an interest in a business worth more than $10,000.