What Is Left Of Think In Elkhart, Indiana? Not Much (Video)
Elkhart, Indiana, with the help of $17 million in government stimulus credits, was to be the home of Th!nk electric cars, a company founded by Norwegian car company, Think Global. Think had expected to hire as many as 400 works, and was going to produce up to 20,000 of its electric City cars per year.
Unfortunately, in the same spot where President Obama announced his $2.4 billion dollar in “highly competitive grants” as part of the electric vehicle initiative, Think went bankrupt for the 4th time, filing in June of 2011, pulling down battery maker Ener1 along with it. At the time, the factory was held up as a savior for Elkhart, a town with over 20% unempolyment.
Think last produced a new car in March of 2011 in Indiana, and today the work force is down to just two. Rodney and Josh. These two workers dutifully finish the remaining two dozen 2011 models that were shipped in from Norway.
Think is now in the hands of Russian investor, Boris Zingarevich, who has detailed exactly what he plans on doing with the shell of a company.
ABC News went to the Think factory for a tour and quick ride around its empty floor in one of their completed Think City EVs, and talked to Dorinda Heiden-Guss, who heads up the local economic development effort.
“We were excited,” she said. “We were invigorated at a very devastating time. The market has not been what everybody anticipated it to be with electric vehicles.”
The Th!nk City is/was powered by a 34 kW (37 kW peak) motor, which translates to about 50 hp, and 66 lb ft of torque. Top speed of the vehicle was listed at 70 mph, but there was no limiter and the gearing would allow you to cross 80mph. Range was said to be 100 miles*
Despite a lot of optimism back in 2009, there just wasn’t any room for a 2-seat, cheaply made $36,000 electric vehicle, and in the end, the open market will decide what will or will not be successful. The Th!nk City had no chance, it never did.
Check out ABC News as they tour the Think plant as it stands today:
Think commercial from 2008, ironically entitled “Hold Your Breath”
Fair Disclaimer: The author of this piece, much like the company itself, has no idea where and when it is appropriate to insert the exclamation point in the word
Think Th!nk Think, so he randomly inserted it into the article.