Norway's pioneering electric-car maker, 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 and California, hoping to host the facility, which will initially employ about 300 workers with a starting capacity of 16,000 cars per year. The company has not announced the other six states.
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, the company said in a statement.
The plant will build the innovative Think City, a sophisticated, high-tech compact electric vehicle recently nominated for England's prestigious Britt Design Award. The all-electric car, which can travel up to 112 miles on a single charge, is designed, engineered, and produced to have the lowest-possible carbon footprint, with recyclable plastic body panels and a fully recyclable interior.
U.S. production of the Think City is expected to start in 2010, with the first-year volume of 2,500 units being available to pilot and demonstration fleet projects.
Think CEO Richard Canny and other officials from the company's subsidiary, Think North America, are in Ann Arbor, Mich., this week, meeting with representatives from the eight states to discuss manufacturing options. A ride-and-drive event is featuring the production-level version of the Think City electric car currently selling in Europe.