The Norwegian company behind the Think electric car confirmed yesterday that Michigan is one of eight states where the company might build the Think City car for North American consumption.
If Michigan lands the Think electric car plant, experts say it will help jump start Michigan’s efforts to establish the state’s infrastructure for developing cars and other alternative vehicle technologies.
General Motors announced its intentions to build an advanced battery development center in Michigan earlier this year. Product Analyst Stephanie Brinley, with AutoPacific in Troy, told the Detroit News that landing the Think plant would add to infrastructure needed to support projects such as the Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle.
The Think facility would need about 60,000 square feet from an existing facility and would start producing 16,000 vehicles annually. The plant would have 300 employees with 70 more at a planned technology center. Think’s CEO, Richard Canny, said the simplicity of the cars requires a low-cost facility that can break even producing only 5000 car a year.
Beginning in 2012, Think wants to produce 60,000 cars per year and locate more of the company’s supplier base in the U.S. Think would also add equipment for painting and welding the undercarriage to its plant. The plant could employ up to 700 people at this point and up to 150.
Although he small City was previously offered to U.S. consumers in limited quantities via a partnership with Ford, Canny thinks the current car may have greater success here, thanks in no small part to the public’s growing acceptance of electric vehicles and small cars like the smart fortwo.
Source: Detroit News