With its first all-electric cars on the way to the U.S. later this year, Think is trying to get the market fired up about electric cars. Talk of 15-minute charge times and which cities are best suited for electric vehicle (EV) introduction, Think is setting the table as best it can. Today, Think is releasing the results of a customer survey that found people looking to buy EVs "would be willing to accept less than 100 miles range-if the price is right."
A team of MBA students from University of Michigan Ross School of Business asked a total of 367 "potential electric vehicle customers" if a range of 70 to 80 miles would be acceptable if the price of the car dropped by $5,000. About half of the respondents said that was fine. Only nine percent said they'd be willing to pay even less for an EV that can only go 50 miles. On the other end of the spectrum, 55 percent said they'd pay an extra five grand to be able to go 150-160 miles per charge. Other automakers are aware of this, too. Tesla Motors, for example, has said it will offer a range of batteries in the Model S.
When we talked to Think CEO Richard Canny in late March at the Valmet Automotive plant where the Think City is made, he said, "We don't intend to give people a choice between battery A, B or C, for example." He may have been talking about different battery chemistries instead of range capabilities, but Think's idea for the City is to make it simple for the consumer. Paying more (or less) for a longer (or shorter) range isn't too complicated, but it does introduce a variable where the there was none before. In a statement to the press, Canny said this new survey shows that, " Offering different sizes of batteries for different customers is an intriguing idea."
Now, let's conduct our own little survey: would you like an EV with a really short range? How short is too short?