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Think hopes to boost sales through Indiana rebate

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Electric car maker Think hopes to kick-start sluggish sales through a rebate program available only to Indiana residents.

The Norwegian company, which assembles the cars in Elkhart, is launching retail sales with test drives offered 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.  Thursday through Saturday at Military Park in Indianapolis. The cars are being sold through Tom Wood Automotive Group's 96th Street location, Think spokesman Brendan Prebo said.

Think has been so slow to push cars out the door that earlier this year it asked battery supplier Ener1 to pause production until it works through its backlog. That contributed to some layoffs at Ener1's Indianapolis faciities in March.

The $9,000 Indiana rebate, plus a $7,500 federal tax credit, will reduce the cost of a Think to $19,995. The Indiana rebate is paid for with Department of Energy stimulus funds that flowed to the Energy Systems Network, which is trying to pave the way to more widespread electric-vehicle use through Project Plug-In.

Anyone who buys an electric car will need a charging station, which can cost $1,500 to $2,500, but Energy Systems Network will throw that in, too, CEO Paul Mitchell said. Buyers who live in the Indianapolis Power & Light or Duke Energy service areas can also qualify to have their fees covered for a standard installation.

Project Plug-In has helped Think place 100 vehicles to-date with corporate and governement fleets. There's enough DOE grant money to fund rebates and charging stations for 200 retail buyers, Prebo said. Think hopes to see all of those rebates put to use.

Think at one point said it could sell 2,500 cars this year. The company no longer makes sales forecasts, Prebo said. 

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