In December, amidst much gleeful hand-wringing, the imminent demise of all the alternative car companies and electric vehicle start-ups was all over the intertubes, as our second Gilded Age crashed this fall into “the worst depression since the Great Depression”.
Headlines full of schadenfreudly screeches like “Oh no! Tesla sedan delayed five minutes! Now surely they will go out of business!” “Another EV startup bites dust!” were gracing a gleeful media.
Among these alarmist statements was a much touted story about the near-death of TH!NK, the Norwegian EV maker, which had been scheduled for U.S. delivery in 2009.
Never mind that TH!NK had placed a $70 million dollar battery order with Enerdel a few months previously. Now, all was lost. No $25,000 freeway speed EV for America.
Well, think again, pundits. After the virtual collapse of the company last month, the U.S.A. (where the original TH!NK was murdered by U.S. lawyers fighting CARB zero emissions rules in the 90’s) could be just where the TH!NK gets resuscitated this year. How ironic.
“After its virtual collapse last month, there are now renewed signs of life at Norwegian EV maker Th!nk. Ener1 Group Inc. is one of the investors in Th!nk and it’s Enerdel division had been set to supply Th!nk with lithium ion battery packs for its City car, as well as future products.
According to Ener1 CEO Charles Gassenheimer, the company is looking at significantly upping its ownership stake in Th!nk. Half of the $5.7 million cash infusion that Th!nk received in December came from Ener1 and “Th!nk may need up to $40 million to get production going. Gassenheimer believes the company could easily sell 10,000 of the City cars annually in the U.S.
In conjunction with the [advanced vehicle technologies] DOE loans that EnerDel has applied for to fund increased battery production capacity, Gassenheimer is now looking at setting up Th!nk City production in the U.S. as early as 2010.”
You may recall that in December these same advanced vehicle DOE loans were almost diverted to bailout old technology gas-guzzlers to the fury of new technology startups like Tesla , the XPCar and other electric car makers.
Fortunately that advanced tech funding ($25 billion) was saved. And Enerdel has applied for half a billion of that. So now it can be used as it was intended; to advance new low CO2 transport that can drive us into the post oil age.