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photo: Think

In The New York Times on Tuesday, I write about Norwegian electric carmaker Think’s announcement that it will open its first U.S. assembly plant in Indiana:

Think, the Norwegian electric carmaker, said on Tuesday that it will open its first American assembly plant in Elkhart, Ind.

The Think City, a battery-powered, two-seat hatchback, is set to begin rolling off the Indiana assembly line in early 2011, ramping up to a potential annual production of 20,000 cars by 2013. The factory is expected to eventually employ more than 400 workers.

About 1,500 of the plastic-bodied cars are already on the street in Europe, and Think will begin selling the City in the United States later this year. The car will be imported from a Finland assembly plant until the Indiana factory opens in a former recreational vehicle factory.

Think’s investment in the Indiana facility depends in part on securing a United States Department of Energy loan guarantee to finance the project, according to Richard Canny, Think’s chief executive.

“Our plan is based around the D.O.E. loan,” Mr. Canny said in a telephone interview on Tuesday. “If that didn’t happen we would be looking at a slower and shallower investment plan.”

Indiana was one of several states vying for the Think assembly plant. Tax incentives offered by Indiana and Elkhart’s proximity to automotive suppliers in neighboring Michigan helped clinch the deal, according Mr. Canny.

You can read the rest of the story here.

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