The Think City Electric Car is the latest in a long line of small, compact and very environmentally friendly electric cars set to hit the market in the weeks, months and years ahead. Despite the fact that many of the larger electric vehicles have hit the headlines so far in the electric car market, there is also major demand for relatively small electric cars which are both environmentally friendly and highly efficient. This is where the Think City Electric Car comes in and the company behind the vehicle is certainly looking to make great headway in the US, Europe and the Far East. So what exactly can you expect from a Think City Electric Car and when will it be available in the UK?
Think Global is the parent company behind the Think City Electric Car, a Norwegian company which has certainly caught the headlines over recent weeks. The vehicle itself has been in the offing for around two or three years now although like so many of the "first to market" electric vehicles of today there has been some slippage in the delivery time. However, this is not to say that the Think City Electric Car is not in demand as we will certainly see in the weeks, months and years ahead.
Think Global was originally founded back in 1991 as the Personal Independent Vehicle Company and its first venture into the electric car market was the PIV2 which was in effect a vehicle built around an aluminium chassis using polyethylene thermoplastic. The lightweight and very environmentally friendly polyethylene thermoplastic body was developed by a company in Denmark which was later taken over by the Ford motor company. This is a perfect example of how leading edge technology in the design of electric vehicle bodies, technical aspects and battery power are now in great demand.
When you consider that the first electric vehicle released to the market by Think Global was way back in 1995, it is perhaps a little surprising to see the company only now beginning to hit the headlines with regards to the Think City Electric Car. However, due to a need to improve and increase efficiency of the underlying vehicle as well as the need to wait for consumer demand to catch up with the sector this is something which has been experienced by all of the major electric car companies. It was also interesting to see that initially after running into financial troubles the company itself was acquired by Ford Motors although it was sold on back in January 2003 to an India-based investment group.
What is the future for Think Global?
As has become commonplace in the electric car market, much of the jockeying for position is still underway and the very fact that Ford Motors initially acquired the business and then sold it on is a perfect example of the confusion within the sector. The company has gone from strength to strength over the last seven or eight years under new management and indeed it has announced a number of new deals with battery suppliers and others in the industry. This is now a fully funded and fully functional environmentally friendly, recyclable friendly electric car company which is now grabbing the headlines and many around the world are waiting for the launch of the Think City Electric Car in their particular country.
Production of the Think City Electric Car
The Think City Electric Car was initially introduced to the UK back in July 2008 although the company was unable to offer significant supply numbers in the short term. Despite announcing a development agreement with Porsche consulting back in August 2008 the company hit financial trouble later in the year and was forced to renegotiate a US$25 million working capital loan. All vehicle production was suspended while the financial situation was rectified which did in many ways weaken the position of the company during that period. A further bridging loan of around US$5.7 million from a battery supply company allowed Think Global to look to the future and a complete recapitalisation of the operation was announced in August 2009 involving finance to the tune of US$47 million. The company is now well positioned and well funded for the future and indeed interest in the group has materialised from the venture capital industry and various partners to the group.
Back on the road again
In December 2009, Think Global confirmed that the Think City car would again go back into production now that the company was re-vitalised and refinanced. Initially, manufacturing began in Finland although plans to produce the vehicle in Indiana were also announced in January 2010 and is expected to follow in the first quarter of 2011. Thankfully, Think Global was then able to announce plans to sell the Think City in the U.S., which was back on track, in 2010 and is set to be rolled out into the UK in 2011 and beyond.
Demand for the Think City Electric Car
The very fact that the first Think City Electric cars off the assembly line in America were sold to the state of Indiana authorities as replacements for part of the government fleet is a further feather in the cap of Think Global and also attracted much publicity for the company and the car. It is said that 95% of the Think City Electric Car is recyclable and due to the relatively lightweight, yet highly safe, nature of the vehicle it has attracted massive praise from environmentally friendly groups and consumers around the world.
There is no doubt that the U.S. is the major market for any electric vehicle and the fact that the relatively small, and until now relatively unknown, Think City Electric Car is now part of the state of Indiana government fleet is certainly a major step forward. But what does the future hold for the Think City Electric Car?
Specifications of the Think City Electric Car
The controversy, confusion and difficulties experienced by the Think Global group have in many ways overshadowed the specifications of the Think City Electric Car although this situation has been rectified somewhat in recent weeks and months. The Think City Electric Car is a two seater or 2+2 seater vehicle capable of being driven on the highways of the USA, Europe and around the world. Despite the relatively small stature of the vehicle it is interesting to see that it has a top speed of 68 mph and an in town range of just under 100 miles on a full charge. This is certainly no mean feat when you bear in mind the difficulties which have been experienced by the smaller electric car companies in recent times.
The Think City Electric Car comes in a variety of different colours such as black jungle, blue sky, red energy, and city citrus. It is a frontwheel drive car which has a plug-in electric powertrain with two front airbags, traction control, braking assist, regenerative brakes for improved efficiency and power steering. The vehicle also has central locking, a 4 kW electric heater, electric windows and electric mirrors, radio, loudspeakers along with a number of additional extras such as air conditioning, alloy wheels, radio CD and full length sunroof.
Charging your Think City Electric Car
The beauty of the Think City car is the fact that it can be charged using a conventional domestic electricity supply connection of 10 A or 16 A, 230 V. Obviously using a 16 A socket will speed up the recharging time which can vary between 8 hours to 11 hours. The vehicle is available with either a lithium ion battery or the much vaunted zebra battery – they do differ in recharging times. However, the very fact that you're able to recharge your Think City Electric Car using a domestic electric connection is certainly a major benefit and one which will see the company and the car attract more interest from the mass market.
When you also take into account the ever-growing number of electric car charging stations around the UK, in the U.S., Europe and the Far East, there is no doubt that for those looking to drive less than 100 miles per day (which takes in millions upon millions of people worldwide) the Think City will be more than up to the job.
Facts about the Think City Electric Car
Despite the fact that many smaller electric vehicles of today are very much based upon the same principles as a quadricycle, this is certainly not the case with regards to the Think City Electric Car. The vehicle is emission free, 95% recyclable and the energy efficiency rating for this particular electric car is three times that of a standard combustion engine vehicle. The vehicle has already been fast tracked by a number of European bodies who have taken the reins with regards to electric vehicles so there should be very few issues as the company continues to roll out the Think City Electric Car around the world.
When you also take into account the fact the car has a top speed of 65 mph, accelerates from 0 to 30 mph in just 6.5 seconds and will hit 50 mph in just 16 seconds, it is certainly no slouch compared to smaller electric vehicles available today. While it is often difficult to comprehend and understand the varying statistics and cost ratios rolled out with regards to electric cars, when you consider that this vehicle requires just £125 worth of electric energy to travel over 10,000 miles this perfectly illustrates its efficiency - working out around 1.25 pence per mile. It is not difficult to comprehend the potentially enormous cost savings for consumers not to mention the enormous assistance the vehicle, and other similar types, will give to the environment.
Safety aspects of the Think City Electric Car
Very often it has been suggested that safety aspects can suffer with regards to relatively cheap and relatively small electric vehicles but this is certainly not the case with the Think City Electric Car. As we mentioned above, the vehicle has passed all of the relevant European and U.S. safety tests and the fact it is in regular use with the Indiana local authorities perfectly illustrates the confidence in the vehicle. The Think City Electric Car is now a real option for those looking at environmentally friendly and highly efficient vehicles for relatively low daily mileage.
Despite the fact that 95% of the Think City Electric Car is recyclable there has been no reduction in the level of safety afforded to drivers.
Will the Think City Electric Car be a success?
The cost of the Think City Electric Car in the US has been set at US$28,000, which on the surface is not exactly cheap but this cost can be reduced significantly due to various government and local authority environmental programs. The cost of the Think City in the UK is expected to come in at £14,000 and again they will be various options to obtain grants and assistance from the government and local authorities. Even without the various financial incentives offered by U.S. and UK governments many expect the Think City Electric Car to be a major success around the globe.
This is a company which has certainly been through the mill but one which has been refinanced, redesigned, replenished and is now beginning to reap the benefits.
The life journey of the Think City Electric Car, and in particular the history of Think Global (the parent company), is a perfect example of how difficult the route to market can be for relatively small companies in these very difficult economic times. However, the company has now been refinanced and repositioned on the worldwide stage and the Think City Electric Car is seen by many as potentially one of the best selling mass-market vehicles available today.
Again, the assistance of local authorities and governments around the world with regards to grants and loans to reduce the cost of these vehicles will play a major role. However, the very fact that the electric energy required to travel 10,000 miles in a Think City Electric Car costs only £125 says everything about the efficiency, the attractions and the potential for this vehicle.