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Electric car company filing for bankruptcy

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The electric car maker that launched its North American operations in northern Indiana has filed for bankruptcy protection in Norway, a major creditor said Wednesday morning.

Think Global AS plans to liquidate its assets, according to a statement from its exclusive battery supplier, Ener1 Inc.

Ener1, which engineers and makes its batteries in the Indianapolis area at its EnerDel subsidiary, notified investors Wednesday that the company would take a charge of more than $32 million on unpaid loans and accounts receivable from Think Global.

Think’s spokesman in Detroit, Brendan Prebo, could not be reached for comment Wednesday morning.

"I think the car is quickly becoming a historic footnote," said J. William Moore, publisher and editor of the Nebraska-based EV World, which covers the electric vehicle industry. "There's a whole bunch of big, serious competitors hitting the market soon."

Think's sputtering performance has already dragged down Ener1's stock price, but it's not clear what affect the bankruptcy will have on the company. Spokesman Brian Sinderson would not answer a question about the impact on local operations. He issued a statement via email this morning saying, “Ener1 estimates that the amount of the charge is $32.6 million, although the amount could change based on the extent to which funds are recovered as a result of the liquidation of Think Global.”

Think hasn't sold nearly as many cars in North America as it hoped, and early this year asked Ener1 to stop shipping batteries while it worked through a backlog of cars at the Elkhart assembly plant. That contributed to layoffs at Ener1's local operations.

Then, in May, New York-based Ener1 told investors it would write off its $73 million stake in Think, a move that sent its share price to new lows.

Ener1 months ago shifted its focus from supplying batteries for electric cars to utility energy storage. The Mount Comfort assembly plant has been turning out battery packs for the Russian electric grid. Ener1 announced on June 16 a deal with JSC Mobile GTES, a subsidiary of the Federal Grid Company in Russia, which could lead to more manufacturing work in the future.

Think Global opened its Elkhart factory last year with hopes of producing 2,500 autos per year initially and employing 415 people by 2013.

Shares of Ener1 Inc. were down a penny each this morning, to $1.35, well off the 52-week high of $4.60 per share it hit late last year.

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  • electric car
    to make electric car showroom
  • hello
    This is great stuff. Thanks for sharing.
  • THINK AGAIN
    Anyone who takes the time and effort to study green solutions and do the math will THINK again about the snake oil green solutions peddled by the anti-capitalistic econistas. Take the subsidies away they ALL go out of business because they sell an inferior hyper expensive product that no one can afford.
  • Environmentally neutral
    The battery disposal will be the next nuclear waste crisis. Good luck cleaning up that spill. How do you propose we generate the electricity you need to charge the battery? Let's see, nuclear, oil, coal...
  • Don't forget the $7500 tax credit.
    I have owned one for the last 2 months and LOVE it. $37,000 - $10,000 - $7500 (tax credit) brings the car down below $20,000. Very reasonable. You won't be getting anything from the major car companies in Indiana for anywhere near that price. Thinks problem was the bad press from the Smartcar. That is what everyone "Thinks" it is. Once the people got in and drove mine they loved it. They just can't get past the idea of would it survive a crash. Keep sucking up the gas, polluting the air, complaining about oil prices, and oil spill instead of helping a new idea expand. We will be relying on oil in the middle east until we step up and pay a few extra dollars to get them out of our pockets. PRAISE THINK FOR TRYING IN THIS NEGATIVE SOCIETY! THINK I WILL ALWAYS BE YOUR BIGGEST FAN!
  • Predictable
    "Green solutions" do not have a track record of success on their own without heavy government subsidies, and the Think car is a perfect example. Without the tax credits, this thing is a $37K piece of junk. It is an overpriced product in search of a market and can't succeed in the marketplace on its own. And if one of the big nameplates had brought it to market, it would have been trashed in the auto world.
  • Electric Yugo
    Had a chance to see an early Think model quite a while ago. My immediate impression was a very over-priced, under-engineered mess. Looked and felt a lot like a Yugo. Of course for the priceof 1 Think, you could have actually bought 3 or 4 Yugos.

    I had hoped they'd be able to come out with a new, better model: Think Again
  • Run over by the major makers
    With the Nissan Leaf & GM volt on the market and the Ford EV on the way, Think got run over by the major auto makers. RIP Think.
  • The price is a killer
    I just went to their website and the take home price for most states was almost 37K. In Indiana you can take 10K off the price. That is a lot of money for something like that. No wonder they went out of business.

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    1. I took Bruce's comments to highlight a glaring issue when it comes to a state's image, and therefore its overall branding. An example is Michigan vs. Indiana. Michigan has done an excellent job of following through on its branding strategy around "Pure Michigan", even down to the detail of the rest stops. Since a state's branding is often targeted to visitors, it makes sense that rest stops, being that point of first impression, should be significant. It is clear that Indiana doesn't care as much about the impression it gives visitors even though our branding as the Crossroads of America does place importance on travel. Bruce's point is quite logical and accurate.

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