First fully electric car makes its UK show debut
The arrival on Britain's roads of the first fully electric-powered car moves one step closer today with the UK motor show debut of the new TH!NK city electric vehicle.
Displayed at the 2008 British International Motor Show at ExCeL London by Norwegian electric vehicle pioneers Think, a company with 17 years experience in electric vehicles, the new TH!NK city will be available for UK customer orders next summer.
TH!NK city is a true, modern urban car, not a quadricycle. It is a fully environmental vehicle, emission free and 95 percent recyclable. With an energy efficiency three times that of a traditional combustion engine car, it is a vehicle that realistically meets the growing challenges of environmental protection, traffic congestion and emissions legislation.
The two-seater urban car has a top speed of 65 miles per hour. It accelerates from zero to 30 mph in just 6.5 seconds and to 50 mph in 16 seconds. It requires just an overnight top-up of electricity and can travel for 126 miles in city driving on a fully charged battery.
To charge the batteries from 20 per cent capacity to 80 percent takes just four hours. Over 10,000 miles use, the total cost of electricity used to power a TH!NK city will be in the region of £100.
TH!NK city is designed to meet the strict safety requirements of both Europe and the USA, as a genuinely-safe road car. It is the world's only crash-tested and highway-certified EV. The car is equipped with ABS brakes, airbags and three-point safety belts with pretensioners and it surpasses all European and US requirements.
"Unlike the lower-range, electric quadricycles that have had limited success in the UK, the TH!NK city is a real car which provides a realistic option for those motorists who want to drive a true zero emissions car," said Richard Blundell, Managing Director of Think UK.
"Concern for the environment has been at the heart of the development of TH!NK city. It's not only environmentally sound to drive, but the car itself is designed to be recycled," he said, "Driving a silent car will give urban motorists a totally new experience. The TH!NK city produces no waste heat and no pollution. Critically for London and many other urban markets it beats the congestion charge!"
"Moreover, the TH!NK city is fund to drive, cheap to run, great to look at, generates incredible mileage figures and is extremely kind on the environment. This is a proposition that we believe will interest many drivers who are re-thinking their approach to motoring," he added.
Engineers, developers, buyers and designers in the Think company have focused on utilising clean recyclable materials and non-polluting production processes. The dashboard can be completely recycled. The fabrics, body, supports, air ducts, adhesives and fixings are designed using the same recyclable materials.
TH!NK city's body is made of recyclable ABS plastic, designed specifically for city driving. Not only is it ideal for motorists who want to avoid visible scratches and irritating dents, the unpainted, self-coloured plastic bodywork also reduces both energy consumption and toxins, while making the panels easier to recycle. The battery is returned to the supplier at the end of its useable life.
These factors have been warmly welcomed by the auto insurance industry, resulting in reduced auto insurance rates by as much as 30-50 per cent.
Standard equipment on each TH!NK city includes power steering, central locking, a 4kW electric heater, and electric windows and mirrors. Optional equipment will include air conditioning, a pre-heat timer, electrically heated windscreen, full length sunroof, Radio CD with MP3, USB, Bluetooth, a navigation & multimedia system, alloy wheels, roof rack and 2 + 2 child seats (including 3-point seat belts)
Production started this year in Norway, and the first batch of right-hand drive cars will be delivered to UK customers in summer 2009. Prices of the TH!NK city will be announced closer to the on-sale date.
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Company history and background
Think designs, develops, manufactures and markets environmentally friendly vehicles and technologies. The company has more than 17 years experience in developing and producing electric vehicles and there are about 1,200 Think-built vehicles driving on Norwegian roads today, many with over 100,000 miles registered on their odometers.
The latest TH!NK city is the sixth-generation electric vehicle that has been produced in Norway. Series production of the newly designed TH!NK city car has recently started and the first cars have already been delivered to Norwegian customers. Currently, cars are being produced at a rate of three to five a day, rising to 20 a day in the next six months.
The capacity of Think's first assembly plant in Aurskog, outside Oslo, is presently being increased to 10,000 cars per year. Think plans to increase its production capacity with new assembly plants in the USA, Continental Europe and Asia in the next two years.
In April this year, Think reached across the Atlantic and established TH!NK North America in partnership with the leading clean-tech investors RockPort Capital Partners and Kleiner Perkins, Caufield and Byers. Sales other than initial trial and demonstration projects will begin in the North American market in 2009.
At the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year, Think announced a strategic partnership with energy giant General Electric, also an investor in Think. Think has also established partnerships in the US with lithium-based battery suppliers A123 Systems and EnerDel.
Think has been developing and producing urban mobility solutions since the early 1990s. The first prototype predecessor to today's modern TH!NK city was developed in 1991. TH!NK city was initially put in serial production in 1999.
During recent years, a wave of environmental consciousness and climate change awareness has ripened the market for alternative mobility solutions. In 2006, new Norwegian investors bought Think, and an experienced management team was engaged to lead the global design, development and commercialization of Think's electric drive train mobility products.
Both new and former staff members were added to the team, and a new, global strategy was outlined for the company. A USD 97 million private placement during 2007 prepared Think to go into regular, serial production of the sixth generation TH!NK city. It also ushered in a new and dynamic ownership of experienced, clean technology investors. The car company of the 21st century was on the road.
"We are the car company of the 21st century. We develop zero emission vehicles and sustainable solutions and we are proud to be launching TH!NK city in new markets in 2008 and 2009, something that shows that the demand for sustainable solutions and zero emission vehicles is greater than ever before," says Jan-Olaf Willums, CEO of Think Global.