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“Ideal” is not a word often associated with the U.S. auto industry these days. But the chief executive of Norway-based electric car maker Think sees potential for it to move in that direction with electric vehicles. “The U.S. is quickly overtaking Europe as an attractive market […]

think-north-america-logo“Ideal” is not a word often associated with the U.S. auto industry these days. But the chief executive of Norway-based electric car maker Think sees potential for it to move in that direction with electric vehicles. “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 today in a release from the company. Canny is in Ann Arbor, Mich., this week, meeting with representatives from eight states to discuss U.S. manufacturing plans for the all-electric Think City two-seater.

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Think revealed a few details on its manufacturing plans today, dangling job-creation promises that could help entice tax credits or other incentives from states amid rising unemployment. California, for one, has made a big push to lure next-generation vehicle manufacturing into its economy, hoping to serve as a kind of “launch pad” for the emerging EV industry.

Think announced today that it plans to open a factory and “technical center” in one of the eight states involved with the talks in Michigan today. Think said the factory — slated to start with a run of 16,000 cars per year — will initially employ about 300 workers, while a technical center could provide jobs for another 70 engineers and electric drive specialists. Long term, the company hopes to churn out 60,000 electric vehicles per year and employ 900 people in the U.S. operations.

To those who might be wary of a foreign-based company leading a charge to transform the auto industry, thinking that it could compromise jobs, Think says, well, think again: It may be headquartered abroad, but Canny said today that his company aims to drive stateside job growth: “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.”

Reinvention, however, doesn’t come cheap. Think North America, a joint venture launched with Kleiner Perkins and Rockport Capital last spring, plans to join the long line of applicants for low-interest loans under the Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program.

Photos courtesy TH!NK

  1. “The War at DOE- Part 1:

    There is a war underway at DOE. For decades, DOE has been controlled by the Oil and Coal lobbies and insiders, enter the Obama administration. Programs and process which had previously been staged to make sure that alternative energy only achieves a 7% penetration, and no more, are in upheaval. The most powerful men in Washington have been entrenched in DOE but internal investigations and clear sky policies have shaken their empire to the very foundation.

    The world economy has been based around the trading of oil and coal since the Vikings first transacted exchanges for these products. Some of the deadliest wars, diseases and intolerance has been caused by the policies around who has access to these materials. These materials affect trillions of dollars of economic movement and certain people and companies will do anything to maintain control of that money and that power. These power brokers have maintained that control for over a hundred years until now! Something happened; a perfect storm of political, economic, science and social whimsies, that nobody could have predicted would occur at the same point in history, shockingly reached a nexus. Now, at a single point of opportunity, the entire tide is about to change, but not without a battle royale that has already begun to spill onto the streets.

    Steven Chu and lawyers from all of the energy and environmental committees in the major media, House, Senate and law enforcement groups have descended en masse in concurrent reviews of the connections of all of the players. Charts and graphics are starting to appear that show faces, boxes and lines drawn from individuals back to corporate interests much like the Elliot Ness mob charts that law enforcement used to present as they were about to bust up a Capone enclave. The Loan Guarantee Program, Section 136 funding and other efforts have clearly been halted in their tracks by oil and coal interests, in a highly visible set of delays as the battles move close to the public eye. Steven Chu, who’s past work has been funded by the US Government was all too familiar with the process but even his “revolutionary physicist” agenda could not have prepared him for what he found when he arrived at 1000 Independence Avenue in DC.

    The White House, Chu, House and Senate activists and a select team of outside consultants are busy reviewing every individual at DOE, their role, their connections and the power structure that exists. Multiple public secondary hearings have already been called by Senate committees and closed door meetings are underway constantly in one of the highest pressure, most intense, most revolutionary efforts to rebuild an agency ever attempted in the Capitol. The other side is not blind to this effort and, while their power has been diminished, they are hard at work to thwart the fix. Every tool of political pressure, manipulation and social massage is being brought to bear. The effort has gone public as the first barrage of prime time TV commercials from the oil and coal industry, in relatively incredible volumes, at incredible cost have started to roll across the television airwaves, nationally, pleading for a new “appreciation of oil and coal” and admonishing Americans that it “isn’t so bad, really…”

    More money is on the table, not only ready to be spent but already late and delayed, causing alternative energy companies to go out of business simply because they were promised the money , they ramped up to receive it and now they have higher than normal overheads, no money, and an even worse survival rate. So the plan of the opposing oil and coal industries is working, they are putting the alternative energy companies out of business simply by tactical logistics, but, if that money does come unstuck soon; the largest funding for alternative energy in world history will take place and then things could change. Hungry early-stage companies move light-years faster than old stodgy oil companies so it is possible, for the little new companies, even with less money and time, to supersede the old oil and coal giants. Will they, it is all up to Chu and his Watchmen… stay tuned…”
    ©2009 Washington Newscene. Reproduction authorized

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  2. I think electric cars are great but like I have said a few different times those car styles and size might work in Europe but I don’t think they will catch on in the US. I think if anyone will make an electric car that the masses would drive it would have to look more like a normal car. These kind of remind me of Geek Squad vehicles.

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  3. [...] is also looking at opportunities to deploy the battery technology it developed for Think’s electric City car to commercial fleets (buses, trucks and delivery vans, for example), and renewable energy storage [...]

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  4. [...] was in “urgent financial distress” (the words of CEO Richard Canny), and Think has already announced plans to open at least one factory and technical center in the U.S., the company said earlier this year that it planned to continue producing cars in [...]

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  5. [...] However Think is really setting its sights on the U.S. The company plans to open at least one factory, with a target of eventually churning out 60,000 EVs per year. It also aims to open a technical center in a yet-to-be-named state in the U.S., because as Think CEO Richard Canny said back in March: The U.S. is quickly overtaking Europe as an attractive market for EVs and is an ideal location to engineer and build EVs.” GA_googleFillSlot("earth2tech_ros_post_footer"); [...]

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