Hoping to dust itself off after the global credit crunch forced it to halt production a few months ago, Norwegian car maker Think is gunning to launch the all-electric City in the U.S. by next year. Think has long intended to bring its vehicles stateside, starting with the two-seater City, which the company says can go 65 miles an hour and run for up to 110 miles on a single charge. Last spring it took the step of forming a 50-50 North American joint venture with the firms Kleiner Perkins and RockPort Capital Partners, initially planning a U.S. launch for 2009.
The 2009 timeframe came before Think (like the rest of the auto industry) hit a big financial pothole. The latest plan, a mid-2010 U.S. launch unveiled late last week, may also include manufacturing in the States. Currently, Think assembles its cars in Aurskog, Norway, about 30 miles east of Oslo, using components from the U.S., Europe and Asia.
According to a report from AutoblogGreen, the company will reveal more details about its U.S. roadmap on Thursday, when Think executives will announce “aggressive expansion plans” for the City in Ann Arbor, Mich. They’re slated to meet with representatives from eight states about “options to bring electric vehicle manufacturing jobs to the U.S.”
Think, Kleiner, and RockPort have remained quiet on many of the details about the planned U.S. launch since it first emerged last April, and by now the firms have likely drafted a new course. The original scheme, however, involved offering “hundreds” of Think City cars to fleets (such as those operated by utilities) within eight months or so, and selling a couple thousand cars to consumers the following year for under $25,000. Long term, the venture said it planned to ramp up production to sell 30,000 to 40,000 cars per year.
When “Think EV” popped up on Earth2Tech editor Katie Fehrenbacher’s City CarShare screen a few weeks ago (due to a glitch that exposed the company’s backend database), we wondered if the cars might hit U.S. roads this year. Now we have an answer: No, but maybe next year.
Photo credit TH!NK