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All-electric car set for U.S. sales in 2009

The Think City electric car, which has a top speed of 65 mph and a 110-mile range, is expected to be available in the United States  in 2009.
The Think City electric car, which has a top speed of 65 mph and a 110-mile range, is expected to be available in the United States  in 2009.Knut Bry / Think
/ Source: The Associated Press

A Norwegian automaker backed by Silicon Valley investors plans to sell in the United States an electric car that goes 110 miles without a charge and costs less than $25,000.

The company, Think Global, annnounced Monday that two venture capital firms with Silicon Valley roots are funding the U.S. operation: RockPort Capital Partners, and Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers.

Think North America is likely to be based in Southern California and the cars will be assembled locally, the partners said.

They intend to put the first model on the market by the end of 2009.

The car, named Think City, is a two-seater with a top speed of about 65 mph, the company said. It runs on sodium batteries and is 95 percent recyclable.

It's "a mass-market vehicle," said Ray Lane of venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers. "Our desire is to be selling 30- to 40- to 50,000 of these cars in a couple of years."

"The transportation industry is undergoing its largest transformation since Henry Ford built the Model T," added Lane, who is also chairman of Think North America. "Today we are witnessing aseminal event: the first highway-capable electric vehicle intended for mass production, representing a big step toward a zero emission transportation industry."

Think Chief Executive Jan-Olaf Willums said test vehicles will be brought to the United States in coming months. A convertible model is in development.

Ford Motor Co. owned Think for five years, leasing vehicles in the U.S. before selling the company in 2004.

Only a few major automakers, including Nissan Motor Co. and Mitsubishi Motor Co., have announced plans to make all-electric cars.