Image credit: OregonLive
TH!NK to Open Electric Car Factory Oregon?
62 mph. 112 mile range. A price tag of $15,000 - $17,000. Who wouldn't want one? Every time TreeHugger writes about more affordable electric cars like the Norwegian-made TH!NK City, it's almost inevitable that we'll get comments from folks asking when these vehicles will be sold in the US. Well it looks like that day may be getting closer, with C.E.O Richard Canny making an appearance with Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski in Portland today to test drive one of these popular highway ready electric cars. It seems that TH!NK are seriously considering Oregon, along with seven other states, for a factory that would ultimately make 60,000 compact cars a year. Click below the fold to learn more about this exciting new development - and to find out what you can do to help make it happen. OregonLive has the lowdown on TH!NK's activities in the state, including signs that the company may be eyeing up an existing Daimler Trucks plant for its electric car factory:
Makers of electric cars have been examining the former Freightliner plant on Portland's Swan Island owned by Daimler Trucks North America, a manager said Friday. Jim Siedow, Daimler Trucks property and buildings manager at the site, said numerous people had inspected the 480,000-square-foot plant, which is scheduled to close in June 2010. "The discussion has been pertaining to an electric car," Siedow said.
Asked whether Think had examined the factory, which still makes Western Star trucks, Siedow said he had signed a confidentiality agreement and could not discuss anything involving certain areas of the plant. Daimler, he said, "will try to do anything and everything to help the city and the state secure a manufacturing operation." A switch from trucks to green cars would write a happy new chapter for the Swan Island plant, where about 700 workers remained after recent layoffs. Prebo, the Think spokesman, said the company needs 120,000 square feet for a first-phase operation in which 290 workers will make 16,000 cars a year. A second phase will require more space to reach 60,000 vehicles a year, he said. Employment for that and the engineering center will total 900, he said.
Of course nothing is set in stone in these rocky economic times - and it is common knowledge that TH!NK has narrowly escaped financial ruin.
For a small company like TH!NK to make a bold move into the American market is going to take guts - and presumably some kind of indication that there is a market. That's why the folks at electric vehicle campaign site Electricaid.org (the people who brought us a great video review of the TH!NK City) are calling on the American public to voice their support for the TH!NK. Would be customers in America can register their interest as part of the Get Me a TH!NK campaign - hopefully sending a powerful message to TH!NK, and to the political forces that can help make this happen.