General Electric (GE) recently announced an investment of $4 million in electric car maker Think and more than $20 million in lithium ion battery developers A123Systems with the intention of making electric transportation practical and affordable. This adds to GE’s transportation related contracts of working with the U.S. Department of Energy to develop smaller, lower cost, better performing motors for hybrid electric vehicles, developing advanced density capacitors, and building a hybrid fuel cell bus.

Electric Vehicle Thomas Edison

GE’s founder Thomas Edison is seen here with an electric car in 1913. GE hopes to follow through on his vision with recent investments in Think and A123Systems in hopes of making electric transportation practical and affordable. Credit:

Think is a Norwegian company that develops zero emissions electric vehicles and sustainable solutions. Think was owned by Ford Motor Company from 1999 to 2003 and is now owned by the Norwegian investment group, InSpire. There are currently 1,200 Think vehicles on Norwegian roads, with the fifth generation Think City vehicle scheduled to be released in certain European markets later this year. Think has also designed a five-seat fully electric vehicle concept car, Think Ox, which is a 100 percent emission free car designed for European, North American, and Asian markets.

A123Systems is a Massachusetts company founded in 2001 that makes lithium ion batteries. These batteries use a Nanophosphate technology developed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology which results in greater power, safety, and life. These batteries are being used in the Think electric vehicles.

“Our work with A123 and Think taps GE’s unique combination of venture capital, engineering, process and commercial expertise to help burgeoning, next generation technology companies bring their innovative products to the market,” said Kevin Walsh, Managing Director and leader of renewable energy investing at GE Energy Financial Services. “Our researchers are improving energy storage and conversion technology as the key enabler of our founder Thomas Edison’s vision of electricity as a viable propulsion system for vehicles, ranging from automobiles to industrial vehicles and locomotives.”

Think CEO Jan-Olaf Willums said, “We see many important opportunities emerging from our new relationship with GE. This relationship will help Think – the manufacturer of the first highway-approved electric car in mass production – to stay at the forefront of electric vehicle technology.”

For more information, visit the Think Web site as well as A123System’s Web site.

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