Think Planning EV Plant in the United States
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Sonntag, den 15. März 2009 um 15:44 Uhr
Think plans to open a new manufacturing plant and technical center in the United States. The company is currently in discussions with eight states, including Michigan, hoping to host the facility, which will initially employ about 300 workers with a starting capacity of 16,000 cars per year.
The technical center will provide jobs for another 70 engineers and electric drive specialists. Plans ultimately call for up to 900 employees and a capacity of 60,000 electric vehicles per year. U.S. production is expected to start in 2010, with the first-year volume of 2,500 units being available to pilot and demonstration fleet projects.
"The U.S. is quickly overtaking Europe as an attractive market for EVs and is an ideal location to engineer and build EVs," said Think CEO Richard Canny. "We see ourselves playing a small but potentially growing role in re-inventing the U.S. auto industry by bringing back new manufacturing jobs to the U.S. to replace internal combustion engine vehicles that are expensive to operate and maintain with clean, efficient electric vehicles."
Think North America also plans to apply for low-interest loans from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program, which was created in 2007 to help develop U.S. production capabilities for the highly fuel-efficient vehicles needed to meet long-range energy security and environmental challenges.
Think is also collaborating closely with battery makers Ener1, Inc. and A123, which are already under contract to supply compact, high-powered lithium-ion power systems for the TH!NK city. The two companies are part of a growing U.S. supply chain serving the electric vehicle and plug-in hybrid car markets.
"The auto industry is poised for a revolutionary transformation enabled by fundamental advances in power electronics and battery technologies," said Dr. Jim Lyons, CTO of Think NA and partner at Novus Energy. "EVs are inherently simpler and cleaner as exemplified by the TH!NK city – a next generation solution to urban mobility."
Think will also continue production of the TH!NK city
in Europe. Think started producing the new generation TH!NK city at its Norwegian assembly plant in limited volumes last year.