THINK has completed a US$40 million equity increase to support further product development and planned expansion into North American markets.
With the new equity, Norwegian electric car maker is now fully funded and expects to become cash-flow positive in 2011.
THINK has raised a total of US$87 million since last August, when it started a new phase of production with strategic partner Valmet Automotive of Finland, and has invested heavily in new product development in Europe and Asia. In January, THINK North America announced a new manufacturing facility in Elkhart, Indiana, and recently completed the initial phase of due diligence for a low-cost, long-term loan with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to help fund the North American expansion.
The THINK City was the first highway-capable electric vehicle (EV) certified to European safety standards, and it will go on sale in the U.S. later this year.
“The new equity round will help THINK take full advantage of the rapid growth of zero emissions vehicles around the world,” said CEO Richard Canny. “The electric vehicle’s time has arrived, and we are ready to take a leading role among the world’s first global EV makers.”
“While other companies have announced future production plans,” Canny commented, “THINK has a proven electric vehicle in mass production today, and the benefit of 30 million miles of real-world EV experience over our 20-year history.”
The investment round was co-led by RockPort Capital Partners, an investment fund co-located in Boston and Menlo Park, Calif., specializing in energy and clean technology, and Ener1 Inc., the parent company of advanced battery manufacturer EnerDel. Rockport Capital and Ener1 each increased its investment in THINK by $12.5 million. All of THINK’s shareholders participated in the equity round.
Canny said that with the closing of the equity funding, THINK will now pull ahead right-hand-drive products for markets such as Japan and the UK. He added that innovations to the THINK City will further solidify the company’s leadership in the commuter car sector of the EV market.
Canny detailed several clear marks of progress at THINK:
— The equity round was over-subscribed, indicating the increasing confidence of THINK’s investors in the company’s future success.
— Accelerated progress with the DOE for a large-scale production loan to strengthen the company’s positioning in the U.S.
— The company’s strategic partner Valmet Automotive is assembling THINK City at the same plant in Finland where it builds the Porsche Cayman and Boxster.
— The company is following an aggressive schedule to mount production at its Indiana plant and plans to begin assembling electric vehicles in Elkhart during Q1 2011.
— The company will begin selling the THINK City in the U.S. this year. The first cars sold in the U.S. will be built in Finland until production in Indiana gets underway in 2011.
— THINK has announced projects to supply EV drivetrain systems to consortiums in Japan with Mazda, Japan Post and Itochu Corporation.
With the equity round complete, THINK will further expand its business selling EV drivetrains, Canny said.