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One hundred unfinished Think City cars wait to be completed, but there is no sign of that happening

Alternative energy efforts just can't catch a break these days. In the past six months alone, three major renewable energy companies filed for bankruptcy after receiving grant money from the federal government. Now, it looks like an electric vehicle (EV) plant in Indiana has taken a dive.

Two years ago, Think City cars, which are tiny two-seater EVs that are manufactured by Think Global, were expected to create over 400 environmentally friendly jobs in Elkhart County, Indiana with a production plant. In January 2010, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels boasted the idea of bringing Think to Indiana in an effort to make the state a top electric supporter.

While the intentions were good, things just didn't turn out that way. Today, the Think City plant has 100 vehicles waiting to be completed, but there is no sign of that happening anytime soon. The quiet plant only has two employees right now who keep an eye on the place, and no one seems to know if this situation will ever change.

The Think City plant, as well as its electric battery supplier Ener1, was given incentives and tax breaks galore from the federal government back in 2010 in order to promote alternative energy ideas. It was also an effort to help bring down the price of the Think City cars. However, no one considered the fact that consumers may not want a tiny two-seater car that has a top speed of 65 mph and a hefty $42,000 price tag. Also, Ener1, whose EnerDel subsidiary won an $118.5 million grant in 2009 from the Department of Energy, filed for bankruptcy last week, which undoubtedly affected the Think City plant. EnerDel spent $55 million of the grant before filing.

"By giving money to the battery company and electric car company, they are saying, 'We want you to buy their products even though we know you don't want them,'" said Gregg Fore, an Elkhart recreational vehicle industry executive.

The Think City plant now sits practically vacant. It seems as if the Think City idea was a failure, and not even Boris Zingarevich, the Russian investor who bought Think Global after its bankruptcy, could provide any clarity on the matter. It's also unclear what the total losses are for the state, and how much both Ener1 and Think received in credits and incentives.

The Think City failure resembles a few other recent alternative energy troubles as of late. In September 2011, Silicon Valley-based solar panel company Solyndra filed for bankruptcy after receiving $535 million from the Department of Energy in 2009. Government officials reportedly warned the administration of the viability of Solyndra, saying that it wouldn't last more than a few years, but the warnings were put aside to meet political deadlines.

In November 2011, Beacon Power, a company that creates flywheels to store power and increase grid efficiency by preventing blackouts, filed for bankruptcy after receiving a $43 million loan guarantee from the DOE in August 2010. Then, just last week, Ener1 filed for bankruptcy protection.

Source: The Detroit News

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RE: Who Killed the Electric Car?
By Dr of crap on 2/3/2012 10:00:51 AM , Rating: 3
EVs are NOT for users like you - or I.
EVs will not replace gas burning cars in our liftime, and are NOT MEANT TO BE.

IF you live close to your work, or don't spend a lot of time on the freeway, then EVs are for you. YOU CAN NOT DRIVE THEM on a long trip and they are not meant for this.

I am not for EVs, they do not fit into my driving, but can we please stop with the -
"if they could go 300 plus miles and take 4 people, and then go across country for less than $xx,xxx then I buy one"

WE ALL know this is not what they are for and will not be for a long time!

RE: Who Killed the Electric Car?
By espaghetti on 2/3/2012 10:15:49 AM , Rating: 3
Then what is the point of taking money from my income to give it to these people?

RE: Who Killed the Electric Car?
By mmatis on 2/3/2012 10:46:03 AM , Rating: 2
Because you OWE them, of course! They are better than you, and don't you dare to forget it!

RE: Who Killed the Electric Car?
By Flunk on 2/3/2012 11:12:35 AM , Rating: 2
That's a load of crap, your name is pretty apt in that respect.

By strapmonkey on 2/3/2012 12:40:58 PM , Rating: 3
Out with the flu the day they taught "Irony 101" at your high school, eh, Flunk? By the bye, how'd you get that username?

RE: Who Killed the Electric Car?
By tng on 2/3/2012 2:38:40 PM , Rating: 2
WE ALL know this is not what they are for...
OK... I'll bite, what ARE they for then? Black hole for government funding?

By DaveLessnau on 2/4/2012 9:02:21 AM , Rating: 2
OK. Assume you're right. EVs are for people who:

- drive fairly short distances to work
- don't do much highway driving

The problem is that those same people also NEED a car for long distances and highway driving. But, because of the nature of the beast, they can't REPLACE their existing car with a $42,000 EV. They have to ADD that $42,000 EV to their stable of vehicles.

Not gonna happen.

"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson

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