Think North America has kicked off assembly of its City electric car at its plant in Elkhart, IN. The battery-powered two-seater was slated to start production in early 2011, but Think is steaming ahead and expects the first batch of its American-made City cars to whiz out of the factory by the end of the month. Right now, some 220 electric Citys are lined up in rows at the Elkhart plant. All of the vehicles are in various stages of completion, but Think expects that each and every one of them will roll out the doors before year's end.
Who's in line for these cars? Most of the current City buyers are corporate fleets. Indianapolis-based Energy Systems Network is looking to purchase 200 of the initial run of Citys for its Project Plug-IN program. In 2011, Think promises that production levels will increase to 2,000 to 3,000 vehicles, most of which will also head out for fleet duty. Then, by late 2012, the U.S. public will finally get its first crack at buying the Think City.
Currently, Think utilizes 65,000 square feet of its Elkhart facility. Eventually, the automaker plans to scale up operations and make use of the entire 205,000 square-foot assembly plant. Right now, production in Elkhart is what we would call "final assembly." Vehicles are shipped from Finland as gliders (i.e., without parts of the powertrain) and given their EnerDel batteries and other U.S.-sourced components in Indiana. Whether it's production or final assembly doesn't really matter to us, since we're just plain thrilled to hear that Think Citys will be hitting U.S. streets any day now. Hat tip to Neil and Mart!