Long-struggling electric car maker Think has been acquired by one of its investors, Russian businessman Boris Zingarevich, who plans to relaunch the company again.
Norway-based Think, which makes a small all-electric sedan, had filed for bankruptcy for the third time last month after failing to raise money to continue operating. According to a statement from Think today, a court-appointed trustee picked Zingarevich as the winning bidder for Think's assets. That includes Think North America and Think U.K., which are separate entities and had not filed for bankruptcy.
The move creates a new Norway-based company called Electric Mobility Solutions and rescues Think from shutting down. The company said that it intends to restart production of the Think City electric town car in the first quarter of next year.
Zingarevich, who has interests in timber and paper industry, is an investor in lithium ion battery maker Ener1, which itself was an investor in Think and supplied the battery packs for the Think City. Electric Mobility Solutions will work with Ener1 and Finnish auto manufacturer Valmet to produce the Think City.
"With the potential of working with the leading American automotive lithium-ion battery maker and Europe's top automobile engineering and manufacturing company, I believe we could have exactly the right combination and value chain to ensure that the brand will be increasingly competitive in the worldwide electric vehicle market, Zingarevich said in a statement.
The Think City is a highway-capable sedan, targeted at urban commuters, that's made with a plastic shell and has a range of about 100 miles. The car itself has been in development for years but now faces competition from the Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt, and upcoming electric cars such as Mitsubishi's i.
Reviewers say the Think City is comfortable and fun to drive. But even with the feel of an economy car, the price tag was projected to be $35,000 or more, in the same price range as the Nissan Leaf.
This departure from bankruptcy follows two others. Investors, including GE and Silicon Valley venture capital companies, purchased Think in 2006 after Ford wrote off its investments in the company. After running out of money in late 2008, the company relaunched operations in 2009, including entry into the U.S. market with the Think City.