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Indiana electric car company gets new owner

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A company that has been making electric cars at a northern Indiana factory has a new owner, giving local officials more confidence in its future.

Think North America spokesman Brendan Prebo said the company's assets are being transferred to the buyer. The company intends to get the necessary auto parts and resume production at the factory in Elkhart in 2012.

Production has been halted there since at least April because of the financial troubles that led Norway-based Think Global to seek bankruptcy protection last month.

Elkhart Mayor Dick Moore said he feels much better about the factory's prospects.

Think started initial production in Elkhart last year. The company planned for the factory to have some 400 workers by 2013 making about 2,500 cars annually, but now has 11 employees on its payroll.

New York-based Ener1 Inc., which engineers and makes batteries in the Indianapolis area at its EnerDel subsidiary, had a $73 million stake in Think, but told investors in May that it would write off its losses.

Think said the court-appointed bankruptcy trustee selected Russian entrepreneur Boris Zingarevich as the winning bidder for the company.

Zingarevich has been a major investor in Ener1 since 2002 and provided bridge funding for Think while the company attempted a reorganization before filing for bankruptcy.

A statement from the company says Zingarevich has signed a memorandum of understanding with Ener1 and Finnish manufacturer Valmet Automotive Inc. to cooperate in relaunching Think. 

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