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Think, EnerDel to supply electric drive to Japan

A trial to convert thousands of Japanese postal trucks from gasoline to electric brings some business to electric carmaker Think and battery supplier EnerDel.

Going electric: thousands of Japanese postal trucks. Japan Postal Service

Electric carmaker Think Global and auto battery company EnerDel said Monday they will supply the electric drive components for a trial to convert gasoline trucks in Japan.

Think's electric power train and EnerDel's lithium ion batteries will power delivery trucks for the Japan Postal Service. As part of a government-led effort, the Japan Postal Service plans to convert 25 percent of its 22,000-truck fleet from gasoline to all-electric.

Testing alternative power trains with fleets is typically a good way to try out new technologies because vehicles can be refueled in controlled settings, such as corporate or government offices.

Think said the power train that will be used in the Japanese trial was originally developed for the Think City all-electric town car. The company, which had to delay production earlier this year because of financing problems, sees supplying third parties as a "significant new business line and revenue opportunity," Think CEO Richard Canny said in a statement.

EnerDel, meanwhile, is seeking to expand its auto battery manufacturing business, in part by applying for government loans to promote the domestic battery industry. So far, EnerDel has lined up supply deals with Think and luxury plug-in electric carmaker Fisker Automotive.