Fisker won’t ramp up production of Karma until Q2 2012

Electric vehicle startup Fisker Automotive has dramatically scaled back production plans of its first car, the Karma, in the fourth quarter of 2011, and it won’t ramp up to full production until the second quarter of 2012.

The Think City’s U.S. Price & Launch Plans

Norwegian electric car maker Think has been slowly unveiling details about its plans to sell the Think City in the U.S.: At $34,000 (before subsidies) it’ll be available via 3 to 5 stores in San Francisco, Southern California, New York, Washington DC and Indianapolis.

Norway’s Think Names 3 States on “Short List” for U.S. Electric Car Factory

Updated with comment from Ener1: Norway-based electric vehicle developer Think has narrowed the “short list” of locations for its first North American manufacturing facility to at least three states, including Indiana, Michigan and Oregon. A Reuters article published late Tuesday reported that Indiana has a lock on the facility, citing an interview with the CEO of Ener1 (s HEV) Charles Gassenheimer. But the Ener1 chief — whose company holds a 31 percent stake in Think as well as a contract to supply lithium-ion batteries for the upcoming Think City electric vehicle — may have jumped the gun, as Inside Indiana Business reported and Think confirmed with us this morning.

Think spokesperson Brendan Prebo tells us that Indiana, Michigan and Oregon remain on the “short list” for the facility — the latest game-piece in an ongoing competition among states to woo advanced battery and electric vehicle factories, which raise the prospect of not only bringing manufacturing jobs and future business to a state’s economy, but also government investment. Prebo confirmed with us in an email that, “Indiana is one of the states on our short list for manufacturing sites and has been for quite some time,” but the company has not yet finalized a decision about the factory location. While Prebo did not disclose how many states are still under consideration, he said, “An earlier report that a decision had been reached was premature.”
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Watching the Michael Jackson Funeral Live

10:30 a.m.: The Michael Jackson funeral has begun. Watching Live feed with Facebook integration. Facebook reports 6,000 status updates/minute, on a more global scale than what they saw with live Obama Inauguration coverage. CNN doesn’t have audio from the Staples Center, switching to MSNBC.

10:35: MSNBC has Twitter integration — automatically tags posts “#MJ #MSNBC.” Updates are coming in too fast to read. Chris reports seeing a pre-roll on MSNBC as well as Hulu.

10:39: Checked back with CNN, it’s way behind the other feeds. Also the “friends” filter isn’t that effective for me since many of mine are not watching. There should be some sort of semantic filter to bring in friend updates that are actually relevant.

10:43: Here’s a screenshot of my overloaded desktop where you can get an idea of how the different feeds look:

Picture 3

10:45: Man, CNN is not handling all the traffic it’s getting. Keeps stopping up.

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Cash-Strapped Think Raises $39M, Revs to Restart Electric Car Production

Norwegian carmaker Think has had a rough year, having hit a big financial pothole at the end of 2008 that forced it to halt production just about two months after it started. Since then, the company, which has long aimed to bring its electric Think City two-seater to the U.S., has been mired in negotiations with investors to get going again. This week, the company reached a major milestone, raising NOK 250 million (nearly $39 million) in fresh capital from previous and new investors, Norway Post reports this morning, and moving closer to a deal with suppliers. Think said in an announcement yesterday, “Much talked-about capital increase negotiations have reached a first conditional approval from investors, and the company is now moving into formal debt settlement negotiations with its creditors.”


What needs to happen for Think to get back on track and meet its goal of delivering vehicles by year’s end? This morning, Think spokeswoman and chief designer Katinka von der Lippe tells us the company has to strike a deal with suppliers, likely within the next two months. She said, “Think has a very supportive supplier base, and we hope to see good results from the negotiations within the next eight weeks.” She did not comment directly on when production needs to resume for the company to stick with its delivery timeline, but said Think is on track to produce vehicles by the end of the third quarter “when new parts are ordered and received at the factory,” and to deliver Think City cars to Spain “towards the end of this year.”
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Susan Boyle Loses Talent Contest, Has Emotional Breakdown

The big news this weekend: Susan Boyle lost Britain’s Got Talent! Oh yes, the international phenomenon was actually competing in a silly little TV show. It seems the web video-powered hype cycle was too short for this particular contest, with Boyle’s breakthrough performance now seven weeks old. After losing this weekend, Boyle, who has had difficulty dealing with her newfound fame, was reportedly admitted to a clinic to treat an “emotional breakdown,” according to British tabloid The Daily Mail.

The show itself, driven by tremendous interest in Boyle, drew a record 19.2 million watchers this weekend, with 72 percent of those watching TV in the UK. It will surely draw many more viewers online. Of 4 million votes on the final, dance troupe Diversity had about 25 percent and Boyle had 20 percent. But even if massive YouTube viewership didn’t bring in the big bucks for show producers, it may well add to Boyle’s wealth, if she can regain her health. A U.S. tour and massive record deal are reportedly in the cards.

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Daily Sprout

Sakti3 to Team Up with GM on Battery Tech: Khosla Ventures-backed startup Sakti3 is collaborating with engineers from General Motors to design new materials for vehicle batteries. GM is not providing funding. — Michigan Business Review

Think in the Clear: Norway’s Think Global has secured for its City car the first certification for an electric vehicle’s highway readiness in all European countries. The designation is expected to help speed its time to market. — Cleantech Group

Big Brother Rides Shotgun?: Transport for London plans to test GPS-enabled Intelligent Speed Adaptation technology, which automatically stops acceleration when a car exceeds the speed limit. In addition to preventing casualties, goals of the project include “reducing vehicle emissions as drivers adopt a smoother driving style.” — Green Car Congress

Schott Solar Gives New Plant a Shot: Germany-based Schott Solar dedicated a $100 million solar equipment manufacturing plant in Albuquerque, New Mexico today, although the industry downturn has put a damper on its growth plans. — CNET’s Green Tech

LEDs Light the Way to New Biz Models: The phaseout of incandescent light bulbs and advent of long-lasting bulbs means light bulb companies have to shift away from making most of their money selling replacement bulbs. — New York Times

The New Micro EVs: 6 Subcompact Electric Vehicles to Watch

Neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs) have won over the more passionate electric car fanatics, but for many drivers they seem impractical, unsafe, and somewhat less-than-thrilling to drive. But a growing number of automakers, including General Motors (s GM) subsidiary Vauxhall, Ford (s F), Norway’s Think Global, Toyota (s TM), Daimler (s DAI) and others are developing “subcompact” (tiny) electric vehicles that, with four wheels and enough power in many cases for highway speeds, won’t look or drive like your granddaddy’s golf cart.

While the upcoming generation of electric mini and micro cars could take some major strides beyond the current NEVs, they have more than a few hurdles standing in the way of mass-market adoption. Subcompacts appeal to city drivers with short commutes and limited parking — the same drivers who are less likely to have a garage where they can plug in and charge up at night than their suburban counterparts. Of course, there’s┬áno way you’ll fit a family of five or a bicycle in these models. And while smaller cars don’t statistically put drivers at greater overall risk on the road, as the Wall Street Journal notes, they face questions about how safe they are on highways swarming with SUVs. A recent study found small, lightweight cars such as the Smart Fortwo and Toyota Yaris faired poorly in head-on collisions with heavier midsize vehicles, as this video from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety explains.

Automakers are betting big on these next-generation little cars — here are six slated to hit U.S. or European roads in the next few years (though several of these are planned for limited regional rollouts). How likely are you to buy one if you have the chance?
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