Think Bringing EV Production To The U.S.

Think, the Norwegian electric-vehicle maker, said today in Michigan that it would built a U.S. factory and tech center. It will be located either in Michigan or in one of 7 other states, which the company didn’t identify. (Spokesman Brendan Prebo did say this afternoon that the automaker is talking to California.)

thinkcityusa“The U.S. is quickly overtaking Europe as an attractive market for EVs and is an ideal location to engineer and build EVs,” Think CEO Richard Canny said in a statement released by the company.

The Think City — OK, the company writes it as TH!NK city — is a small EV capable of going 112 miles on a single charge. The company said U.S. production will start in 2010, and that about 2,500 vehicles will be build in the first year to go into fleets and demonstration projects.

The plant will start with 300 workers and an annual capacity of 16,000 cars, with expansion plans leading toward 900 workers and 60,000 Think Cities a year.

With today’s announcement, Prebo said, Think North America is now based in Dearborn, Mich. When Think North America was formed last year, it was using Menlo Park and Kleiner Perkins, the cleantech VC firm, as its home. The company is now 100% owned by Think Global, Prebo said, and KPCB becomes a share-holder in Think Global. Rockport Capital Partners as well as battery-makers A123 and Ener1 have been identified as other partners.

In late 2008, the company entered Norway’s equivalent of Chapter 11 bankruptcy and temporarily suspended production in its home country, but has since been able to obtain interim financing.

Here’s a  story in AutoWeek.


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