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Ener1 in Chapter 11 Despite Federal Energy Grant

Both Democrats and GOP could face political fall-out.

by on Jan.27, 2012

Ener1's finances took a serious turn for the worse when major client Think went broke last year - the Think City battery car shown here.

Ener1 Inc., the ambitious New York-based maker of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and energy storage, has filed for bankruptcy despite receiving $118 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Energy — and lavish-support from the Republican-controlled state of Indiana, home to one of the company’s principal factories.

The “pre-packaged” bankruptcy was filed after the company reached agreement with its primary investors and lenders on a restructuring plan “that will significantly reduce its debt and provide up to $81 million to recapitalize the company,” Ener1 officials said in a statement released after the filing.

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Though Ener1 expects to continue operating and still hopes to eventually profit as battery car demand grows its bankruptcy filing could turn into a political football with both Democrats and Republicans pointing fingers.

The company’s statement said Ener1 expected to maintain its current employment level of approximately 700 and eventually repay creditors.  It has 275 employees in Indiana.


Battery Maker Think Gets New Start

Bankrupt brand finds new owner.

by on Jul.25, 2011

Think will be reborn as Electric Mobility Solutions.

Bankrupt battery car maker Think Global could get a second – make that fourth – chance, a Russian investor getting court approval to re-launch the brand, which went belly-up last month.

The new owners plan to rename the long-troubled company Electric Mobility Solutions AS but will continue to operate it out of Norway – with subsidiaries in both the U.S. and United Kingdom.  Those operations continued even while the Norwegian parent faced the possibility of a court-ordered break-up.

“Having achieved the position of one of the world’s most highly regarded electric vehicle products, the THINK brand is a valuable asset that deserves to continue its key role in the global shift to electrification,” Russian investor Boris Zingarevich said in a statement.

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“With the potential of working with the leading American automotive lithium-ion battery maker and Europe’s top automobile engineering and manufacturing company, I believe we could have exactly the right combination and value chain to ensure that the brand will be increasingly competitive in the worldwide electric vehicle market,” he added.


Think Files for Bankruptcy – Again

Maker hoping to survive latest setback.

by on Jun.23, 2011

The Think City has fallen short of sales goals.

This is an updated version of the story that first appeared on on 6/22/11

Long-struggling electric vehicle maker Think Global has filed for bankruptcy – again – following the breakdown of its relationship with U.S. battery maker Ener1.

The Norwegian-based automaker had been hoping to turn its fortunes around with the launch of a new version of its little Think City battery car.  It is unclear whether the latest setback will end the company’s quixotic quest to be a major player in the global electric vehicle industry — but initial indications suggest it will be difficult to pull through the current crisis, which marks its third time in receivership in just a decade.

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The latest setback resulted from Ener1’s decision to sever its four-year relationship with Think, for whom it served as both supplier of lithium-ion batteries and a key investor following the automaker’s emergence from its previous bankruptcy.  But Ener1 management determined their investment was “impaired,” and sought to find a way to recover as much as possible, it appears.