Hank Paulson, Venture Capitalist?

Hank Paulson tiptoed into the venture capital waters today, participating in a $24 million Series B round for electric car and battery maker Coda Automotive. He also agreed to join the Santa Monica, Calif.-based company’s board of advisors.

So does Paulson want to become the next John Doerr? Well, it’s probably more likely than Doerr wanting to become the next Hank Paulson, but a better bet is that this is a one-off transaction, borne of an old Goldman Sachs relationship.

Paulson was introduced to the company by Mac Heller, Goldman’s former banking and M&A chief who currently serves as Coda’s co-chairman. This was in the middle of last month, when Coda was fundraising in New York. The idea was that Paulson could act as a stragtegic advisor, due to his extensive China ties and Coda’s manufacturing agreements in China. Plus, the ex-Treasury chief is an outspoken environmentalist (if Al Gore can join Kleiner, why not this?).

In a prepared statement, Paulson said: ““Coda’s non-capital intensive business model and globally collaborative partnership strategy persuaded me to join the advisory board,” said Paulson. “Coda Automotive’s approach will enable them to release the Coda electric sedan next year.”

Other Series B investors included the Angeleno Group, company founder Miles Rubin, Mac Heller, company CEO Kevin Czinger, John Bryson (ex-Edison Int’l CEO), Mack McLarty (former chief of staff for President Clinton) and Thomas Steyer (founder ofFarallon Capital Management.