Think Global bursts onto the scene in U.S.

Electric Car

Norwegian electric car maker Think Global is building a manufacturing facility in the United States this year. The company will ship 500 cars to the U.S. market towards the end of the year, and begin ‘low volume production’ in Indiana in 2011.

The car is called the Think City, one of only three crash tested and highway certified electric cars, alongside the Tesla Roadster and Blade Electron.

The company was originally founded in 1991 in Oslo. There first prototype car caught the interest of Ford, who bough the company in 1999. Earlier, California had passed the Zero Emissions Standard law, which required an increasing number of zero emissions cars to be sold every year. Automakers and the federal government brought successful lawsuits against the state and were able to repeal the law, and so Ford scrapped there plans to develop the line of cars and put the company up for sale.

Enter Jan Otto Ringdal, one of the company’s original founding members. Ringdal, now with Norwegian investment group Inspire, swooped in and bought back his old car company, renaming it Think Global.

Ringdal has an impressive background of Mechanical Engineering, having studied in Zurich, in addition to exceptional senior management and entrepreneurial studies in Barcelona. He has a keen eye for opportunity and has pioneered several successful startups. Ringdal has strong interest in renewable energy and an admirable sense of persistence. “Its been a long journey” says Ringdal, as he flicks the ignition, bringing his latest prototype to life with lights and a distinct electric hum.

Jan Otto Ringdal

Jan Otto Ringdal

His signature car, the Think City has a range of 110 miles and a top speed of 62 mph. Plans for wide release were again waylaid when Tesla Motors baked out of a deal to sell 43 million dollars worth of Li-ion battery systems to Think Global back in 2007.

Then on March 5, 2008, General Electric, A123 Systems and Think Global announced a partnership at the International Motor Show in Geneva, to secure the needed batteries.

Think Global CEO Jan-Olaf Williums says the Think City will sell in the U.S. for $15,000 – $17,000.

Energy, Technology, World

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