Norwegian electric car maker Think has landed another $47 million to keep it afloat and will start producing its Think City commuter electric cars in Finland in a deal with Finnish automaker Valmet Automotive.
That's good news for the electric car maker, which halted production under the threat of bankruptcy earlier this year before receiving loans and investments to help it keep making its all-electric, 100-mile range compact electric (see Green Light post).
The $47 million investment announced Thursday comes from investors including Ener1, the parent company of EnerDel, which supplies lithium-ion batteries to Think. Other investors include Norwegian investment firm Investinor and Valmet, a subsidiary of Finnish engineering firm Metso.
As part of the deal, Valmet will start making Think City cars in Finland this year. Valmet also will invest about 3 million euros ($4.3 million) in Think, making it a minority shareholder, Reuters reported. Production could reach hundreds of thousands per year, Valmet said in a statement.
Valmet makes the Porsche Boxster, and is also to be the manufacturer of startup Fisker Automotive's high-end Karma hybrid – another company EnerDel plans to supply batteries to (see Green Light post). Think will close its Norwegian factory and lay off about 85 workers there.
As for Ener1, it will invest about $18 million in three rounds and convert about $3 million in debt to shares of Think, giving it an approximately 31 percent stake in the company. Investinor will invest about 30 million Norwegian crowns ($5 million).
Think, which had raised about $85 million in venture capital as of last year, reported early this year that it could be facing bankruptcy. But the new investment, Think has exited the protection of Norwegian courts, which have approved the company's debt settlement plan.
Ener1 was one of the creditors that loaned about 40 million crowns ($5.7 million) to Think in January. And new and existing investors put about 250 million crowns ($39 million) into the company in June (see Green Light post).
Think has also agreed to supply its electric power train to convert Japanese postal trucks (see CNET).
Less clear are Think's prospects for building a U.S. factory, which it first announced plans for in March.
While the Think City costs about $29,000, the cost of leasing its battery will bring the cost of ownership over seven years to about $44,000 (see Think's Electric Car is Here, But Bring Your Wallet).
Nissan has said its first all-electric car, the Leaf, will cost about $30,000 before federal tax credits of up to $7,500 and other incentives. Mitsubishi's iMiEV electric car will cost about $45,000 before Japanese tax credits equivalent to about $14,000 (see Nissan Turns Over a New Leaf With Electric Car, New HQ and Green Light post).
Image via Think.