Fund-raising helps Think power ahead

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The Independent Online

Think, the Norwegian electric car-maker, has raised another US$40 million equity so it can drive its cars faster into the US market and then into right-hand drive countries such as the UK.

Chief executive Richard Canny said last night: “This new funding gives us the money to back our launch of the Think City car for the US at the end of this year, and for the UK at the beginning of next year.”

Canny added: “We needed more finance to back the development of right-hand drives which is costly. We will now be developing cars for the UK, and other right hand drive countries, such as Japan, which are a big market for us. Switching from left to right is costly – there are over 100 parts which need to change and then there’s all the crash-testing to do.”

The Think City electric car, made in Finland by Valmet ,which also makes Porsche’s Boxer and Cayman cars, already has cars for sale in European countries, mainly for fleet and leasing use. Think has one of the most sophisticated batteries of any electric car on the market, with a driving range of around 100 km.

Think cars will now be on sale in the US at the end of the year, and in the UK next year. Canny added: “It will not be long before electric cars are a big chunk of the market with many people opting to use them in urban areas and keeping a petrol engine for longer distance. It won’t be long before people living in big cities will soon start sharing cars far more than in the past.”

The new fund raising for the Norwegian-car maker was over-subscribed with existing shareholders all taking up their rights. Ener1, the US listed battery maker, holds 31 per cent and Rockport Capital, is also a big investor.

Ener1 chairman and chief executive Charles Gassenheimer said: “This is a seminal event for THINK and allows its to translate product advantage into market success is undeniable. “THINK also announced two changes to its board - Gassenheimer is now chairman of the Board and the previous chairman Reidar Langmo was named Vice Chairman.