Think Again

Back at the beginning of this decade, certainly headier days for the auto industry, among the companies that Ford collected was a Norwegian outfit, PIVCO Industries, that produced electric cars.

Back at the beginning of this decade, certainly headier days for the auto industry, among the companies that Ford collected was a Norwegian outfit, PIVCO Industries, that produced electric cars. They were small EVs called “Think” or “Th!nk” Maybe it was a tribute to Thomas Watson of IBM’s famous sign exhorting people to use what’s between their ears.

Anyway, as Ford divested itself of junkyards and other things accumulated, Think went by the wayside.

While I haven’t thought about Think for quite some time, this morning I received a news release announcing that Think has a new board of directors. I must admit that the names are all unfamiliar to me but one, Ken Baker, who had been vice president of GM Research and Development, and a man who was instrumental in the development of the EV1, a vehicle that will undoubtedly figure well in the future, when people look back at the development of EVs. Now Who Killed the Electric Car? is too much with us.

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But among the board members there is a person who represents the Norwegian government’s capital investment fund, head of an automotive lithium-ion battery producer, founder and managing general partner of a U.S. venture capital fund, the former president and CEO of Fiat Group-Switzerland and managing director of BMW Greater China, and a man who is heavily involved in the renewable energy industry (e.g., solar power).

As I looked into Think I discovered the Norwegian courts approved the company’s “debt settlement plan” in August, “enabling the company to exit court protection.” Yes, even Norwegian electric car companies had to file papers with the courts.

But The company has raised $47-million in capital, and one of the largest investors, Ener1, is going to be holding a 31% stake in the firm—which is of particular interest because Ener1 owns EnerDel, a manufacturer of lithium-ion batteries based in Indianapolis (and a supplier to Think).

And what is particularly notable for those who are more about cars than energy, Valmet Automotive is taking a “small share in the company” and will be building the Think City EV in its plant in Uusikaupunki, Finland, where the Porsche Boxster and Porsche Cayman models are produced and where the Fisker Karma electric car will be built.