“This is another major milestone for us,” said THINK CEO Barry Engle. “We are now manufacturing and selling both electric vehicles in Europe and the U.S. and have produced more than 2,500 THINK City electric vehicles.”
THINK’s plant in Elkhart is receiving partially assembled electric vehicles from contract manufacturer Valmet in Finland, which produces THINK vehicles for the European market. Workers here are completing production of the electric cars, including installing electric drive trains with advanced Lithium-ion batteries from manufacturer Ener1, Inc. in Indianapolis.
THINK will replicate the current production line, tooling facilities and processes used in Finland. This coincides with the company’s plans to scale up production to build 2,500 electric vehicles for the American market in 2011.
“This plant will be a model for efficiency and quality, as we’re going to be sharing best practices among Elkhart, Oslo and Finland,” said THINK Manufacturing Director Karl Turner. “Our process eliminates the need for paint or welding shops, so it is environmentally very clean, is low capital intensive and is readily replicable for other locations to support future growth.”
The company currently employs more than 25 local workers in Elkhart. By the end of 2011, THINK will have more than 100 people in Elkhart building electric cars and more than 415 by the end of 2013.
Indiana Government gets first 15 THINK electric cars
Based in Oslo, Norway, Think Global is a dedicated manufacturer of electric cars, under the brand name TH!NK. The company has delivered 15 electric cars to the US state of Indiana that will be used for government fleet.
All the vehicles that were delivered were manufactured at Think Global’s unit in Elkhart, US. These 15 electric cars are also the first electric vehicles manufactured by TH!NK in US. Mr Barry Eagle, CEO, TH!NK, said, “We’re proud to be the first manufacturer to deliver an all-electric car built in the U.S. with an advanced battery that suits the needs of government and commercial fleet operators. Our delivery today is part of a larger effort to help transform the U.S. light-duty vehicle fleet from one that is mostly dependent on imported oil, to one that is fueled entirely by domestically produced electric energy.”
“As part of that goal, we’ve made a strategic decision to target initially the more than 16 million fleet vehicles in operation in the U.S. market. These fleets can jumpstart vehicle electrification in America’s cities and help push the industry past early adopters into mainstream consumer markets. Fleet sales will drive up vehicle and battery production volumes and drive down costs, which will benefit retail consumers,” Mr Eagle added.
These new electric cars can travel up to 100 kilometers on a single full charge. Indiana state Governor, Mr Mitch Daniels said, “Nearly four years ago we set the goal of establishing our state as the ‘Silicon Valley’ for advanced vehicle manufacturing and have attracted top industry leaders, including THINK and Ener1, and now we’re seeing the fruits of this initiative. We are committed to lead in state fleet electrification and call upon other states to join in and help get this vitally important industry off the ground to make electric cars available for everyone.”
THINK is the world’s leading dedicated electric car manufacturer, developed and proven over 20 years. This heritage gives THINK a head start with having put nearly 10,000 electric vehicles on the road and accumulated more than 35 million road miles of customer experience.
The THINK City, the first electric car to be granted pan–European regulatory safety approval, is sold across Europe, with sales and production in the U.S. and operations being developed in Asia.
THINK is also a leader in electric drive train technology, and was the first to offer a modular and flexible electric drive-train solution in the business-to-business sector. With its Scandinavian origins and sustainability mindset, THINK is one of the most carbon-efficient car companies in the world.