Monday, December 15, 2008

Beyond Detroit: Think halts production; appeals for govt help

Think Global, the Norwegian electric car maker, has halted production of its electric City car, generating fears of a possible bankruptcy. As reported by Reuters, "Like many other car companies, privately-held Think said it had difficulties in obtaining working capital and that automotive suppliers offered tougher terms on parts." It has asked the Norwegian government for $100-200 million to see it through the crisis.

Hybrid batteries doing fine

There's good news in Jim Motavalli's Greentech report in the NY Times about NiMH batteries in hybrids. The batteries have gotten cheaper, and they have proven robust and long-lived. Toyota reports a tiny percentage of replacements - 350 packs out of hundreds of thousands of 2nd generation Priuses. Yellow Cab in Vancouver has about 100 hybrids, some having racked up as many as 300,000 miles. Yet only 3 or 4 have been replaced, according to the company's general manager.