Electric car maker THINK has completed a US$40 million equity increase to support further product development and planned expansion into North American markets. With the new equity, THINK says it is now fully funded and expects to become cash-flow positive in 2011.
The investment round was co-led by RockPort Capital Partners, an investment fund co-located in Boston and Menlo Park, Calif., specializing in energy and clean technology; and Ener1 Inc., the parent company of advanced battery manufacturer EnerDel. Rockport Capital and Ener1 each increased its investment in THINK by $12.5 million. Ener1 Chairman and CEO Charles Gassenheimer was named Chairman of the Board, effective immediately.
Incumbent Chairman Reidar Langmo was named Vice Chairman. All of THINK’s shareholders participated in the equity round.
Headquartered in Norway, THINK has raised a total of US$87 million since last August, when it started a new phase of production with strategic partner Valmet Automotive of Finland, and has invested heavily in new product development in Europe and Asia.
In January, THINK North America announced a new manufacturing facility in Elkhart, Indiana, and recently completed the initial phase of due diligence for a low-cost, long-term loan with the US Department of Energy (DOE) to help fund the North American expansion.
The THINK City was the first highway-capable electric vehicle (EV) certified to European safety standards, and it will go on sale in the US later this year.
This is a seminal event for THINK. THINK’s transformation into a company ideally placed to translate product advantage into market success is undeniable. Ener1 fully intends to invest further resources in THINK.—Ener1 Chairman and CEO Charles Gassenheimer
THINK CEO Richard Canny said that with the closing of the equity funding, THINK will now pull ahead right-hand-drive products for markets such as Japan and the UK.
THINK has established a US subsidiary—THINK North America, a stand-alone business that will include manufacturing, product development, sales and distribution. The company has an active application before the US DOE under the $25-billion Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing loan program designed to spur development of more fuel efficient vehicles, including pure electric and hybrid electric vehicles.