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Thursday, April 24, 2008
Think Global - Think City Electric Car
Image: courtesy of TH!NK (en.think.no)

Think City Electic Car Comes To The United States

When you say the word 'Think' to someone in the near future, it may be understood that you are referring to a 'Think City' electric car, as shown in the photo. Think Global of Norway announced plans on April 22, 2008 to establish Think North America to sell and eventually produce the Think City electric car in the United States. Think Global also indicated that the North American venture would be in association with their venture capital partners Kleiner Perkins Caulfield and Byers, and RockPort Capital Partners, two leading CleanTech investment companies.

Think Global CEO, Jan-Olaf Willums, presented the Norwegian company's business strategy for the Think City Car at Monaco's Clean Equity (CleanEquity) Conference in February this year. Mr. Willums indicated then that production of the Think City car had already started at Think Global's factory assembly line in Aurskog, Norway. He said they would ramp production up to an annual 10,000 cars for 2009 and expected to produce 20,000 cars annually by 2011. If demand for the Think City is high, the 2010 - 2011 figures could become very conservative.

The official world launch of the Think City Car was held in Geneva, Switzerland on March 5, 2008 at the Geneva Auto Show and Think Global also announced that they had formed a strategic partnership with General Electric . GE has invested in both Think and A123Systems, a lithium ion battery company, who will be supplying battery packs for the Think City car along with a second battery supplier EnerDel based in the United States.

Think Global expects to follow a DELL Computer model for on line purchase of Think City cars in the future. They would also like to establish their first Think car dealerships in Palo Alto (Northern California) and Beverly Hills (Southern California). A Think City is sold with a battery leasing arrangement, where Think Global leases the battery to the customer for a monthly fee.

Think Global's Think City car has a driving range of 180 km (112 miles) in summer driving conditions with the air conditioning on. In the winter, the range is 90 km (56 miles) with the 3.5 kW heater fully on. To completely charge the car, takes 10 hours (overnight), and for an 80% charge it takes 8 hours. Acceleration from a standing start is very good and instantaneous with a 0 to 50 kph (30 mph) time of 6.5 seconds and a top speed of 100 kph (62 mph).

The interior volume of a Think City is similar to that of a Volkswagen Polo. It comes standard with two seats but can be fitted as an option with an additional two rear seats in a 2+2 configuration. In Norway, you can rent a Think City car from their subsidiary company called Think About, which is a car sharing and car rental franchise that Think Global has started there.

In Norway, one of the benefits of owning an electric powered Think City is that you can drive in the bus lanes, which are prohibited lanes to other types of cars. In London, in the United Kingdom, the savings from owning a Think City car are significant for downtown city commuters because there are no congestion charges payable on full electric vehicles. In Milan in Italy, the downtown is prohibited to drivers unless you are in a taxi or driving an electric vehicle.

The sales price of the Think City car in the U.S. has not been released yet, but Think Global would like develop the cost to be in the $20,000 range, and this should be achievable if a U.S manufacturing facility is constructed.

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