Things are going well for Think right now. The 2,500th City electric vehicle has rolled off the production line in Valmet, Finland making the car, in Think CEO Barry Engle's words, "the best-selling electric car in the world today." What's more exciting, though, is that the company's U.S. production plans are looking to be moving up. Instead of a possible 2013 opening, Think's Elkhart, IN plant should be making the third-generation City should by 2011. The plant will start operations by doing "final assembly" of 500 City vehicles later this year. These vehicles will be shipped from Finland as gliders (i.e., without parts of the powertrain) and be given their EnerDel batteries and other U.S.-sourced components in Indiana. Think had originally planned to ship the batteries to Finland and then ship the completed cars to "select customers" in the U.S., but changed its plans.
A Think spokesperson told AutoblogGreen that:
The U.S.-bound Think City models will use a new Enerdel lithium ion battery in place of the old Zebra battery. The American-made battery has a capacity of 25 kilowatt-hours, which gives the Think a nominal 100-mile range on a charge.Think is readying the Elkhart plant to complete assembly work on largely built-up vehicles that are arriving from the Valmet Plant in Finland. Sales to U.S. customers will begin in December, with most of the first cars to be sold to fleets.
Note that the comments that follow the [ETruth] story for some reason include the wildly inaccurate claim that THINK is seeking a $25 billion loan from the government. While the company has never dimensioned the dollar amount of the loan it is seeking from the Department of Energy, it is safe to say that it is nowhere near that amount!
Think is apparently using 95 percent of the battery's capacity, which could have some negative consequences on the lifespan of the battery pack. The new battery does provide higher power and a faster charging rate than the zebra battery. The performance of the Think is still pretty limited – a top speed of just 68 miles per hour – but a Green Car Advisor crew did manage to get 43.5 miles of fairly aggressive driving with 38 percent of the battery charge left. That works out to a range of 75 miles in similar conditions. No U.S. pricing or official launch date has been announced yet, but Think obviously wants to get here as quickly as its little wheels can roll.
[Source: ETruth, Green Car Advisor]
Electric Vehicle Maker THINK Builds 2,500th World's Best-Selling City Model
Company Gears Up for December Sales Launch of the Famed Car in U.S.
OSLO, Norway (October 11, 2010) – THINK, the world's leading dedicated electric vehicle manufacturer, announces the production of the 2,500th unit of the THINK City pure electric vehicle, designed for urban use.
"This milestone event further solidifies the THINK City as the best-selling electric car in the world today," commented THINK CEO Barry Engle.
The 2,500th City came off the assembly line today at Oslo-based THINK's production facility in Europe, where the vehicle has been fully highway safety certified since 1999. THINK engineers estimate that the City has accumulated 35 million zero-emissions road miles to date. The company has begun preparations to build the sturdy and reliable two-seat commuter at a plant in the American heartland in Elkhart, Indiana and plans to launch fleet and retail sales in December.
"Bringing this well-established electric nameplate to America for the first time is a landmark event in THINK's long history," added Engle. "As electric transportation goes mainstream, the U.S. stands to become the largest electric car market in the world. We expect the tried-and-tested City to be among the most visible EVs on America's streets and highways in the very near future."
THINK has been a unique innovator in pure electric vehicle and power-train technology for nearly twenty years, positioning the company as a world-leader in producing cars on a dedicated electric platform. The City can maintain speeds of 70 miles per hour and travel up to 100 miles on a single charge.
The THINK City model is currently in its second production version. A third version is scheduled to be produced in the U.S. and come on the market in late 2012. European production of the City takes place in Finland at the renowned contract manufacturer Valmet Automotive, which also assembles the Cayman model for Porsche AG.
Photo Caption: Staff at Valmet celebrates production of the milestone 2,500th THINK City – the world's best-selling electric car.
THINK is a pioneer in electric vehicles and a leader in electric vehicle technology, developed and proven over 20 years. This heritage gives THINK a head start with nearly 10,000 electric vehicles on the road and more than 56 million kilometres (35 million miles) of customer experience. The THINK City, the first EV to be granted pan–European regulatory safety approval, is sold across Europe, with sales and production about to start in the US and operations being developed in Asia.
THINK is also a leader in electric drive-system technology, and was the first to offer a modular and flexible EV drive-train solution in the business-to-business sector. With its Scandinavian origins and sustainability mindset, THINK is one of the most carbon-efficient car companies in the world.