Electric car maker Think chooses Indiana
By Erik Siemers
Norwegian electric car-maker Think on Tuesday said it has chosen Elkhart County, Ind., as the home of its new manufacturing plant.
The news ends nearly nine-months of speculation as to whether Think would build its all-electric Think City vehicles in Oregon, which was one of three finalists for the plant.
Oslo-based Think said it will invest $43.5 million in building improvements and equipment in Elkhart County, where it could begin assembling vehicles in early 2011. The investments will support a manufacturing capacity of more than 20,000 vehicles per year.
It will be the company’s second production location. European production is underway in Finland through manufacturing partner Valmet Automotive.
CEO Richard Canny visited Portland in April when he toured the Daimler Trucks North America plant on Swan Island. The plant was scheduled to be vacated this year until Daimler reversed course in September.
By November, Oregon had joined Indiana and Michigan as finalists for the plant.
“We looked at a number of states out West and in the East, but at the end of the day it was Indiana that had a vision around electric transport and the desire to build an industrial base of key manufacturers,” Canny told the New York Times Tuesday.
The decision to choose Indiana may have a lot to do with its new Indiana neighbors.
EnerDel, an Indianapolis-based maker of lithium-ion batteries, has also chosen Indiana for a North American manufacturing plant. Its parent company, Ener1, holds a 31 percent ownership stake in Think.
The Elkhart County Council late last month gave initial approval to a 10-year property tax abatement for Think that is designed to lure the company to a vacant manufacturing plant near the town of Middlebury, Ind., according to the Associated Press.
Think said that in addition to incentives from Elkhart County and the state of Indiana, it will use funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing loan program to establish the new plant.
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