Northwest Renewable News

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Oregon may get electric car plant April 17, 2009

Filed under: Electric Vehicles,Green Jobs,Manufacturing,Oregon — nwrenewablenews @ 2:10 pm
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Oregon is one of eight states in consideration for an electric car manufacturing plant that could employ 900 workers.

Representatives from Think North America will visit Portland on Tuesday in an appearance with Gov. Ted Kulongoski, a spokesman confirmed Friday morning.

The Norway-based company announced in March that it’s in discussions with eight states about building a manufacturing plant and technical center for its compact electric car, the Think city.

The plant would initially employ 300 and be capable of producing 16,000 cars per year. It would ultimately grow to 60,000 cars per year and 900 workers, the company said.

The tiny four-seat all-electric car can reach more than 60 mph and travel 112 miles on a single charge, operating either on sodium or lithium-ion batteries, the company claims. It’s designed to have a low carbon footprint and features recyclable plastic body panels and a fully recyclable interior.

Spokesman Brendan Prebo said the company hopes to get the price of the car down to $20,000 after tax incentives, but must reduce the cost of the battery to meet that goal.

U.S. production is expected to start in 2010, with the first-year volume of 2,500 units available to pilot and demonstration projects, the company said.

Thus far, the company has only identified California and Michigan, its North American headquarters, as Oregon’s competition for the plant.

The contest is moving quickly.

Prebo said the company will choose a site in the next couple of months in order to meet its goal of starting production by mid-2010.

That means Think is eyeing existing brownfield sites and preferably a location that has existing and available manufacturing space. Prebo said Think has identified several U.S. sites with existing manufacturing space, but wouldn’t say whether any of those were in Oregon.

Kulongoski has put a target on the fast-rising electric vehicle industry and hopes to cement Oregon’s reputation as an early adopter of the technology.

Already Portland holds the oft-cited record of having the most hybrid-fuel vehicles per capita of any city in the nation.

Portland General Electric Co. earlier this year began installing electric vehicle charging stations throughout its service station. And the state Department of Transportation earlier this week began soliciting bids for electric charging manufacturers, the first solicitation of its kind in the nation.

Kulongoski and Sen. Ron Wyden will join Think CEO Richard Canny for a test drive of a Think city vehicle Tuesday at 11:45 a.m. the World Trade Center building, next to PGE’s electric charging station at 121 S.W. Salmon Street.

Portland Business Journal – http://www.bizjournals.com/portland/stories/2009/03/30/daily53.html

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