Think Or Swim: Norwegian EV Maker Goes Under

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

Car production is for the REALLY big boys only. It takes boatloads of patience and money. Ignore it at your peril. Or rather at the peril of your creditors – if you can find any. Latest road kill: The Norwegian EV maker Think Global filed for bankruptcy on Wednesday, as Automotive News [sub] reports. Nothing new for Think. According to AN, “it is the fourth time Think has collapsed financially in its 20-year history.”

Production of Think’s only product, the City minicar, had ceased in March. The car had been made under contract by Think investor Valmet in Finland. In 2010, Think sold only 1,043 units. That the, well, minimalist car retailed for $41,000 before subsidies did not help.

Ener1, which supplied the batteries for the Think City has taken a charge of more than $32 million on unpaid loans and accounts receivable from Think Global.In May, Ener1 had already written-off its $73 million stake in Think, says the Indianapolis Business Journal.

U.S. subsidiary Think North America, which has an EV production plant in Elkhart, Ind. will most likely get drawn into the bankruptcy, AN figures, “because it is financially supported by the headquarters in Norway.” From mid-1999 until January 2003, Think was owned by Ford.

Join the conversation
10 of 18 comments
  • Zykotec Zykotec on Jun 23, 2011

    Considering us Norwegians has a lot of cheap and green electricity (water turbines) we really should have been able to sustain one tiny EV company. But, city people don't think it's cool enough, and the people living in the 'middle of nowhere' (like me) can't live with the short range. They were as far as I know not bad cars though. Peugeot chassis parts gave a comfy ride, and low weight ment they weren't violently slow either. We should be ashamed of ourselves, I guess. Ford didn't help much either though....

    • See 1 previous
    • Zykotec Zykotec on Jun 23, 2011

      @stuki More or less correct on the prices, but adjusted for a typical Norwegian income we still have quite cheap electricity (and gasoline btw,though not as cheap as the US) Compared to the US we don't really have any densely populated area at all (half the population of Manhattan spread on a surface almost the size of California) But the population is quite evenly spread, so a normal everyday commute is normally not exceeding the range of a EV. Quite a few people could easily own a Ev as a second car (most families have two cars anyway) As you said, Oslo has e pretty decent public transportation system for those that live in the city (and they probably don't even own a car if they are young and/or single) But many of the people who work in the cities don't live there. We are quite conservative in our car choices though.

  • TR4 TR4 on Jun 23, 2011

    More evidence that BEVs are (still) not ready for prime time. The main advantage of the BEV (easy operation) disappeared circa 1914 when the self-starter was invented. The disadvantages of BEVs (short range, high cost, long recharging times) are still with us. Maybe in another 100 years...

  • Carlson Fan Carlson Fan on Jun 23, 2011

    Estimates are that it takes 4-7.5 kWH just to refine a gallon of gasoline. Then there is also the energy to remove it from the ground and transport it. Imagine how much electricity is consumed in the US just to refine petroleum every year. Your ICE vehicle is lot more dependent on electricity than you may think. The Volt and Leaf can go 15 miles on 4 kWH BTW.

    • See 3 previous
    • SVX pearlie SVX pearlie on Jun 23, 2011

      @downhill56 Honda CRX HF was rated at well above 40 mpg.

  • Cmoibenlepro Cmoibenlepro on Jun 23, 2011

    Again?! They did not have any chance, once they left Ford... The only interesting thing they made were hot sodium batteries with interesting range, but I don't think they still use them.