Ann Arbor, Michigan – Think, an electric car maker headquartered in Norway, plans to open a new manufacturing plant and technical centre in the United States. The company is currently in discussion with eight states for a facility that will initially employ about 300 workers, with a starting capacity of 16,000 cars per year.

The technical centre will provide jobs for another 70 engineers and electric drive specialists. Plans ultimately call for up to 900 employees and a capacity of 60,000 electric vehicles per year.

“The U.S. is quickly overtaking Europe as an attractive market for EVs and is an ideal location to engineer and build EVs,” said Richard Canny, CEO of Think. “We see ourselves playing a small but potentially growing role in reinventing the U.S. auto industry by bringing back new manufacturing jobs to the U.S. to replace internal combustion engine vehicles that are expensive to operate and maintain with clean, efficient electric vehicles.”

The plant will build the City, an all-electric car that can travel up to 112 miles (180 km) on a single charge. U.S. production is expected to start in 2010, with the first-year volume of 2,500 units being available to pilot and demonstration fleet projects.

Think North America also plans to apply for low-interest loans from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program, which was created in 2007 to help develop production capabilities for highly fuel-efficient vehicles.

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