Think Delivers First American Electric Vehicle
Think, a Norwegian electric vehicle manufacturer, has delivered its first American-built Think City automobile to its first US fleet customer, the state government of Indiana. The company, which has dealt with a number of setbacks, was one of the first electric vehicle manufacturers in the world.
Think first decided to bring a plant to the United States in January of 2010. The company chose to place its new factory in the heartland in Elkhart, Indiana. At the time, Elkhart was shedding jobs as its status as the largest recreational vehicle manufacturer was at risk at the height of recession. Think, however, saw opportunity, and opened up a factory next to the lithium-ion battery company, Ener1.
Less than one year after crossing the Atlantic, Think delivered fifteen of its Think City vehicles to the Department of Natural Resources. The Department will use the cars to patrol state parks. The City’s range of 100 miles offers just enough distance to allow the Department to operate the vehicles on rotation, charging their batteries overnight for use during the day.
Officially, Think has been producing electric automobiles since 1991, though a series of financial hardships meant a number of temporary ceases in production. The company has worked with other automotive giants and was once owned by Ford, which owned the brand until 2003. It wasn’t until 2009 that the company began to find a solid footing. With new investors, new capital, and a proven production car, the company began producing its Think City in Europe.
High Hopes for North American Sales
Think plans to bring out a retail distribution plan in the United States starting in 2011 with plans to sell mostly European made City automobiles until the Elkhart plan reaches maximum output. The company plans to expand from twenty five employees to one hundred by 2011, and finally to 415 by 2013.
The Think City is capable of reaching top speeds of 70 miles per hour with a range of up to 100 miles on an all-electric powertrain. The small two-plus-two seat car is very much similar in design to the very popular Smart ForTwo.
The batteries utilize a standard, 230v charging station and require eight hours of charging time. The current model Think City has been in production since 2006.