Production of THINK City EV begins in Indiana, USA
The companyplans to build 300 THINK City electric cars at the facility at Elkhart by the end of the year.
‘This is another major milestone for us,’ said THINK CEO Barry Engle. ‘We are now manufacturing and selling both in Europe and the U.S. and have produced more than 2,500 THINK City vehicles.’
THINK's plant in Elkhart is receiving partially assembled vehicles from contract manufacturer Valmet Automotive in Finland, which produces THINK vehicles for the European market. Workers in the US are completing production of the cars, including installing electric drivetrains with 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 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.