Indiana bet big on becoming the mecca of electric vehicle production in the U.S. The state and several counties and cities within it spent millions in incentives to get electric car makers, manufacturers, etc. into the state. One of those was Think, a Norwegian company with a long, rocky history of financial woes, that hoped to make a North American assembly plant and headquarters in Elkhart.
Of course, bureaucrats and politicians being who they are, nobody bothered running a credit history on Think or they might have noticed that the City electric car the company produced has had only marginal acceptance in Europe, where it’s been sold for years, and the company itself has been through more than one bankruptcy before.
The once-bustling Think plant in Elkhart was supposed to be home to 400 employees and a hub where crippled suppliers to the now-dead RV industry in the state would be able to turn new profits. Instead, the plant now employs two people, both basically janitors and caretakers.
Another company, Ener1, was to supply Think with the batteries for its City cars. That company, also in Indiana and also heavily subsidized by government, dumped $73 million into Think and has now written that off and declared bankruptcy for itself as well. Vice President Joe Biden, who was there at the company’s opening in 2009, failed to show up for bankruptcy to get any press during that event. Go figure.
Think’s Norwegian parent company was sold at auction to a Russian investor who has yet to say anything about the future of the carmaker.
Last, but definitely not least, of course, was the City car itself. Politicians, in their zeal to throw around taxpayer money and appear in headlines to be “creating green jobs,” didn’t look at the car. At least, not closely.
It’s a boring-looking piece of plastic that has a $42,000 price tag and only goes 65mph for about a hundred miles or so.
For that, you can have about the same range, seat more people, and still have money left over with a Nissan Leaf.