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Published on January 23rd, 2009 | by Susan Kraemer

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TH!NK EV Saved! Made in America 2010?

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.

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Autobloggreen reports

“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.

Image: TH!NK

Related:

Utilities Suggest Huge Electric Vehicle Orders

Lets Pay Detroit to Bring Their Gas Sipping Cars Home to the US

CalCars’ Jumpstart Detroit Plan Could Save Planet


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About the Author

writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today, PV-Insider , SmartGridUpdate, and GreenProphet. She has also been published at Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow, and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design, Susan brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention, solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci-fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times.    Follow Susan on Twitter @dotcommodity.



  • Doug

    You might want to slow down on your smug I told ya so’s. $5.7 million is a long way from $40 million. I hope they are successful, but the problem is most of theses start ups are going to fail. A few will survive and hopefully will grow into companies large enough to truly change the face of auto manufacturing.

  • Doug

    You might want to slow down on your smug I told ya so’s. $5.7 million is a long way from $40 million. I hope they are successful, but the problem is most of theses start ups are going to fail. A few will survive and hopefully will grow into companies large enough to truly change the face of auto manufacturing.

  • Doug

    You might want to slow down on your smug I told ya so’s. $5.7 million is a long way from $40 million. I hope they are successful, but the problem is most of theses start ups are going to fail. A few will survive and hopefully will grow into companies large enough to truly change the face of auto manufacturing.

  • http://dotcommodity.blogspot.com Susan Kraemer

    But Doug; Enerdel is applying for almost half a billion in advanced funding from the new DOE, to build the U.S. advanced battery sector.

    Don’t you think they might use some of that $470 million to help produce the car their batteries will go into? That is why I think Grassheimer is talking of producing TH!NK here.

    I think this is an exciting new development – that battery makers might drive EV development (now that oil companies have driven the auto industry into the ditch)

  • http://dotcommodity.blogspot.com Susan Kraemer

    But Doug; Enerdel is applying for almost half a billion in advanced funding from the new DOE, to build the U.S. advanced battery sector.

    Don’t you think they might use some of that $470 million to help produce the car their batteries will go into? That is why I think Grassheimer is talking of producing TH!NK here.

    I think this is an exciting new development – that battery makers might drive EV development (now that oil companies have driven the auto industry into the ditch)

  • Joe B.

    Susan: I share your excitement. I hope Enerdel gets a huge sum from the DOE. It would be put to better use than paying pension plans for GM.

  • Joe B.

    Susan: I share your excitement. I hope Enerdel gets a huge sum from the DOE. It would be put to better use than paying pension plans for GM.

  • Joe B.

    Susan: I share your excitement. I hope Enerdel gets a huge sum from the DOE. It would be put to better use than paying pension plans for GM.

  • Doug

    @ Susan,

    Applying for does not mean they will get it. Do I think the money should be spent on batteries? Yes I do, but that does not mean that Congress won’t give it all to the Big 3, or more specifically GM and Chrysler. I do hope they succeed, but until I see Congress do the right thing I will not believe them capable.

  • Doug

    @ Susan,

    Applying for does not mean they will get it. Do I think the money should be spent on batteries? Yes I do, but that does not mean that Congress won’t give it all to the Big 3, or more specifically GM and Chrysler. I do hope they succeed, but until I see Congress do the right thing I will not believe them capable.

  • Spec

    Well, the Th!nk factory is not back up and running yet. :-/ And Th!nk did get some more money from Sweden.

    http://www.autobloggreen.com/2009/02/01/swedes-give-a-hand-up-th-nk-to-give-1000-cars/

  • Spec

    Well, the Th!nk factory is not back up and running yet. :-/ And Th!nk did get some more money from Sweden.

    http://www.autobloggreen.com/2009/02/01/swedes-give-a-hand-up-th-nk-to-give-1000-cars/

  • Spec

    Well, the Th!nk factory is not back up and running yet. :-/ And Th!nk did get some more money from Sweden.

    http://www.autobloggreen.com/2009/02/01/swedes-give-a-hand-up-th-nk-to-give-1000-cars/

  • http://none Don

    Well I hope they do bring out the think as I will buy one for driving to work 40 miles one way. also I now have a jetta 49 mpg diesel and I love it, because when fuel was 5 dollars/gal for me it didn’t cost me 100$ to fill up. It was around 50 now it is 25. not bad for almost 600 miles on 1 tank.

    GO ELECTRIC. I think think (no pun intended) would be a great comuter car.

  • http://Web Daniel D Martin

    We keep praying for THINK GLOBAL to be able to get the funds
    THINK CITY for $25 ooo would be a huge success in this USA market of always rising gas prices

  • http://Web Daniel D Martin

    so this is 2011
    where can i buy the THINK CITY?

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