Good news for Elkhart, Indiana today, as The Detroit News reports that the Norwegian EV firm Th!nk has chosen the city for its $43.5m US production facility. The plant will have a production capacity of 20k units, once production ramps up from its 2011 start. By 2013, Th!nk says it will employ 415 workers who will build the firm’s City model, a two-seater which will initially cost nearly $40k before government tax breaks. The factory will receive some $17m in state and local tax breaks and incentives. Th!nk hopes to eventually reduce the cost of the City, which has a stated range of 112 miles and a top speed of 70 mph, to about $20k.
Models will be imported from Norway during initial sales, scheduled to begin this year. Th!nk, which emerged from bankruptcy last fall, had originally planned for production of up to 60k units in the US, but has reduced that goal in light of the financial downturn. Indiana battery firm EnerDel is a 30 percent owner of Th!nk, making the Indiana plant placement a relatively unsurprising decision. Whether US consumers are willing to spend amounts approaching the list price for a Chevy Volt (let alone the Nissan Leaf), remains a huge open question underlying the whole project. After all, Th!nk even had to shut down its European manufacturing (under contract to Finland’s Valmet) for three quarters of 2009.