A week after we reported on the THINK City the Norwegians announce that the top US cities in which they are going to roll out the THINK City are Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and New York. To top things off they are working with AeroVironment, Inc. to develop a fast charging system which loads the car in 15 minutes, and these fifteen minutes give you a 80% charge. That makes long distance travel with the THINK City possible, given that the charging stations are many and placed at the right locations.
In other news, Better Place, the company which is working on creating the infrastructure for your EV with switchable batteries, announced that they secured USD 350m in a series B round, and have now HSBC, Morgan Stanley Investment Management and Lazard Asset Management among their investors. That gives Better Place a value of USD 1,25 billion, which should give them the funds to develop and roll out their technology. They aim to have their solution ready for 2011 in Denmark, so we can be sure to see some of that money flow to the country on the Jutland peninsula.
Tesla on the other hand secured a USD 465m government loan to produce the Model S. When it is ready – 2012, mark it in you calendars and start putting money on the side – we can be sure to see their market share in Denmark and Norway surpass the 10% and climb to new heights. The money will likely be used to build a manufacturing plant in California, and if you want to be among the first ones to drive in this 7 seater, go here to enter your reservation.
The Fisker Karma will finally start production in May, after securing a whooping USD 528m loan from the US government. Some of that money will flow to Valmet Automotive which manufactures the Karma, who, rumours say, is being tested at the moment on Finnish roads to see how it gets along with our arctic climate.
So why is this good information for the Nordic countries? For one, Better Place wants to use renewable energy sources to power their service, and with a lot of innovative cleantech energy companies coming from the Baltic & Scandinavia, this means demand in their technologies will increase and they need to ramp up production to meet that demand. The wind, solar and wave companies will need to secure further funds to get their technologies market-ready and installed, producing all that renewable energy we’ll need to power our new EVs – because there is no sense in driving an EV when the energy powering it comes from coal & oil.
Secondly, Valmet Automotive is producing the Fisker Karma and the THINK City. The company is planning to establish itself as a major player in the EV manufacturing business, and that also means that innovation in that area will hopefully start to sprout in the area around it. With the millions of Dollars flowing to Uusikaupunki you can be sure to see some of that money going to start-ups which serve the EV market with innovative solutions, be it batteries, solar panels for car roofs, or operating systems for the high tech cars. If you are an investor, and have no cleantech start-up in your portfolio just yet, I’d recommend you to scout around and see if you find an start-up which you can support with knowledge and money, because 2010 is going to be the year cleantech is going to be big.