Back then Think was owned by Ford, which sold it in 2003 to Swiss company Kamkorp Microelectronics. In 2006 Think went bankrupt and was subsequently rescued by a group of Norwegian investors determined to build the firm into a proper automaker with a number of all-electric models.
The rejuvenated company showed some promise in recent years, revealing a number of new concept vehicles and announcing plans to establish operations in the U.S. and eventually launch a range of electric vehicles Stateside.
Fast forward to today and Think has finally started production of its City all-electric minicar at a plant in Elkhart, Indiana with a view to build up to 300 of them by the end of the year.
The cars being assembled in the U.S. are built from partially assembled kits delivered by contract manufacturer Valmet in Finland. You may recall that this is the same company that will eventually assemble the Fisker Karma luxury plug-in hybrid sedan.
Workers in the U.S. not only assemble the City minicars but they also install their electric drivetrains and lithium-ion batteries, the latter of which are supplied by local company Ener1 Inc. and power the Think City for 100 miles.
Think currently employs more than 25 local workers in Elkhart but by the end of 2011 the company hopes to employ up to 100 staff and by 2013 is hoping to build up to 2,500 cars annually here in the U.S.
Demand should be strong, especially now that the Think City has been approved as a zero-emission vehicle by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), allowing it to be sold in California, the District of Columbia and 12 other states that adopted the stricter vehicle emissions regulation.