• Jun 24, 2011
Think City factory in Elkhart, IN – Click above for high-res image gallery

The bankruptcy filing by Think Global makes us question the future of Think's only North American factory.

Located in Elkhart, IN, Think's U.S. production site was initially touted as an economic boost for an area hammered by job loss in the recreational vehicle industry. Think's grand scheme called for its Elkhart crew to work 10-hour shifts, seven days a week in order to pump out 2,500 Think Cities in 2011. Beyond that, Think manufacturing director, Karl Turner, previously told AutoblogGreen that the Elkhart factory could churn out up to 60,000 of the pint-sized electric vehicles a year. Of course, that was all before Think Global's bankruptcy filing this week.

So, will Think's financial struggles affect operation in Elkhart? Well, according to Elkhart Mayor Dick Moore, the automaker insists that the factory won't be impacted by Think Global's bankruptcy filing. However, Moore is concerned, and rightly so. The Elkhart Truth reports that production at the Elkhart site was shut down recently as its employees waited on parts needed to assemble Think Cities. That shutdown was prior to Think Global's bankruptcy filing, which leads us to believe that the situation will continue to get worse. A spokesperson for Think North America didn't respond to phone and email messages from the Associated Press and Inside Indiana Business seeking comment.



Photos by Sebastian Blanco / Copyright ©2010 AOL

[Source: Inside Indiana Business, Indystar]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 15 Comments
      Jim McL
      • 22 Hours Ago
      I suspected they would keep producing. GM did, Chrysler did, the airlines usually keep flying during bankruptcies. Think is used to bankruptcy. It never did anything but slow them down before. It is certainly not as hard to deal with as a Norwegian winter. I wonder if this will let them sell US made (cheaper) Think City EVs in Europe where they have been selling only the ones made in Finland, with much higher labor costs. I have heard it suggested that those workers in Indiana are probably Amish to a significant extent. Tesla uses cylindrical laptop cells in their battery pack. Think uses flat ("prismatic") cells like those that GM etc chose. Yes, a bit more expense until the economy of scale gets going, but not much. One advantage is a more compact pack. The Think is smaller outside than the Mini E but way bigger on the inside. Partly due to those compact battery packs under the seats. (The Mini E also uses cylindrical laptop cells like it's cousin the Tesla.) Of course there are other factors influencing size, but there are also other advantages to batteries designed specifically for automotive applications, like good enough low temperature performance to get by without the expensive liquid thermal management. It will be interesting to see how the Think performs this winter. Being from Norway, I do not expect problems.
        Marco Polo
        • 22 Hours Ago
        @Jim McL
        Sadly for Th!nk, no 'White Knight' is likely to appear to rescue Th!nk USA. No rival maker is interested, and the battery supplier is certainly not interested. Over $300 million would be needed to revive Th!nk, and nobody is that interested. (The Amish, do not work in factories!)
      Spec
      • 22 Hours Ago
      Uh . . . yes.
      EVnerdGene
      • 22 Hours Ago
      problems: low volume high price significant competition - more value at less $ too little too late
      Roy_H
      • 22 Hours Ago
      What would make anyone think that the Think plant in the US has any chance at all of continuing business? The only way it could is if it bought all the equipment from its bankrupt parent. Then it would have all the pieces in place to follow a plan that has already proven to lead to bankruptcy. Think is done for, kaput, bye, bye. Is Enerdel next? Enerdel took a big gamble, buying into Think in order to force Think to buy their batteries for way above market value. Can Enerdel find a buyer for their batteries? If they had ready customers, they would never have bought into Think.
        Roy_H
        • 22 Hours Ago
        @Roy_H
        It seems that Enerdel has significant success in non-automotive business and is not endanger of going bankrupt despite posting a slight loss due to writing off their Think investment of $69M. Also it looks like they have a working agreement with Volvo, so they may have some auto EV business after all.
        • 22 Hours Ago
        @Roy_H
        Very little equipment is needed to assemble the Th!nk. There's no painting to be done. EnerDel have made their goal; proving that the Ener1 lithium battery is superior over the Chinese in every day performance. Now US car manufacturers just need to wake up and buy the battery locally. EnerDel is now selling huge quantities of batteries to Russian power plans for storing excess power during off peak operation.
        Jim McL
        • 22 Hours Ago
        @Roy_H
        Parent? Think has not had a "parent" since Ford owned them in the early 2000s. They are privately held. Ener Del was a major investor, but had a minority stake I believe. Some have argued that Ener Del came out with a proven track record of producing high quality cells in volume. That has opened doors for them. Just like A123 had to sell to power tool makers before they could break into automotive applications. Think looked like a bargain back when the Mitsubishi i-MiEV went on sale for $47,000. No one expected Nissan to take such a bath selling the Leaf at a loss.
        Spec
        • 22 Hours Ago
        @Roy_H
        Way above market value? What makes you say that? That $17K number for their battery pack is unconfirmed but assuming it is true that would be $708/KWH. Assuming that includes the battery management system, that is a reasonable price. Yes, you can buy raw Chinese Li-Ion cells for much cheaper, but this is a tested automotive grade pack with the BMS. That is a pretty good price.
          Chris M
          • 22 Hours Ago
          @Spec
          Well, it could be better. Tesla confirmed a $30K retail price for a replacement Roadster battery pack, 53 Kwh, which comes to about $566 per Kwh. Of course, that is a tested automotive grade pack with thermal management and BMS. I doubt Tesla has enough cash reserves to buy Think, unfortunately.
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 22 Hours Ago
      I'm guessing it will affect them just a tiny bit. as in no car ever produced.
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 22 Hours Ago
      nah, they'll do just fine.
      tantareanujellob
      • 22 Hours Ago
      Lets see. It costs more than a nissan leaf, can't match the speed or the range yet its a plastic shitbox. Yeah I'm sure they'll sell millions.
        • 22 Hours Ago
        @tantareanujellob
        What is the point of making an electric car that does more than the speed limit? An electric motor can operate for decades at the rated power, unlike an ICE which would last only hours. The Th!nk is not primarily built for highway driving, but it will do highway speed for a distance, limited by the battery capacity.
        • 22 Hours Ago
        @tantareanujellob
        The only EV today that exceeds Th!nk's range in real life is the Tesla Roadster. The Th!nk body does not dent or rust.
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