Electric vehicle maker Th!nk Global is just about ready to begin selling cars over in Europe. Instead of launching one single full-scale offensive, the Norwegian automaker is now trying to figure out where its cars would be most welcomed, and to help make the decision, its created an EV Friendliness Index. We like the sound of that. The statistic attempts to score a city based on its ease of EV use and various purchase incentives. Coming in at the top of its list is Oslo, the capital city of Th!nk's home market. That's nice to see. The remaining top five slots are rounded out by Tel Aviv, Lisbon, Copenhagen and London. These are the cities that Th!nk will first target when its new TH!NK City electric vehicle is deployed. The recently-revived automaker has plans to sell about 10,000 City's per year and hopes to ramp up to that number relatively quickly by making it available over all of Europe by the end of 2010.
Gallery: Th!nk visits No 10 Downing St
[Source: Think Global]
Think will supply electric vehicles to the most 'EV Friendly' cities in Europe – including London
Oslo, 1st December 2008: London has been rated as one of the most "electric vehicle friendly" cities in Europe ahead of the introduction of the world's only crash-tested and highway-certified electric car, the TH!NK city.
Initial distribution of the TH!NK city electric vehicle in 2009 will be targeted to the most `EV friendly' cities in Europe. In order to prioritize markets, Norwegian EV manufacturer Think has developed an EV Friendliness Index, a quantitative measure of the benefits associated with buying and using an electric vehicle in each market.
On the news of Think's commitment to bring the TH!NK city to London, UK Secretary of State for Transport, Geoff Hoon responded by stating "I am pleased that Think sees London as one of the most attractive markets in Europe to roll out their electric vehicles. We want to see more electric and other low emission cars on roads in the UK, as we move towards a low carbon future".
The Norwegian capital city of Oslo ranks highest when it comes to EV incentives, largely driven by significant purchase tax benefits, no annual road tax, the permission for EVs to use bus and taxi lanes, access to free inner-city parking and the exemption from all road toll fees.
London also features prominently amongst the top five cities possessing a variety of initiatives including no road tax costs, exemption from the London congestion charge and free parking in many parts of the city, particularly the West End. Moreover, the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown and Secretary of State Hoon, recently announced a series of funding initiatives to accelerate the development and demonstration of low carbon transport solutions in the UK.
Announcing Think's EU roll-out plan, Think CEO Richard Canny commented "Due to high demand for our vehicles and our finite production capacity in 2009 we want to make sure that we concentrate our sales on the European cities that have the most potential - not just in terms of sales volumes, but the cities where our customers will receive the maximum benefit. And since EVs are a unique solution for congested urban environments, we will take a city-by-city approach rather than a pan-European or country-by-country approach."
The Think EV Friendly Index takes into account purchase incentives for electric vehicles, their usage and practical support measures undertaken by cities and local energy utilities to encourage EV adoption rates and the associated environmental benefit of the TH!NK city will have in displacing fossil-fuelled cars.
The latest generation TH!NK city is already on sale in Norway and further details will be revealed on the Think website, www.thinkev.com, to allow customers to find out when the TH!NK city will be coming to London and other cities.
Commenting on the exact number of vehicles available in 2009, Canny explained that Think is working quickly to move toward reaching full production capacity of 10,000 units per year at its Aurskog, Norway assembly plant, but added that sales volumes in the first half of 2009 will likely be limited by some capacity constraints.
Due to the fact that many European cities are rapidly changing their purchase and usage incentive/regulatory frameworks to support electric vehicles, the exact sequence of cities for the TH!NK city launch will not be announced until early 2009.
"We're sorry that the vehicle will not be available throughout the whole of Europe until 2010 but in our early commercialization phase, it is important that we first establish a strong concentration of sales in key, highly attractive markets, which support early adoption of low carbon transport solutions...and this includes London," said Canny.
The TH!NK EV Friendliness Index
Think's EV friendly index examines the attractiveness of cities, in the context of buyer benefits, in three broad categories:
1. EV Purchase incentives – the available rebates, tax incentives or other purchase incentives available at the city, state or national government level, including reductions in annual tax charges. This includes measures available for individual purchasers, as well as those available for fleet and car sharing customers.
2. EV Usage measures – includes actions which make it more attractive to use an electric car, including:
* Availability of free charging in both public and private sector locations
* Freedom from congestion charges or road use tolls
* Free on-street and off-street parking for EV's and preferred parking locations
* Ability to use bus, taxi and high-occupancy vehicle lanes on city and surrounding area roads
* Customer discounts on electricity
3. EV impact – includes the environmental and air pollution benefits of using an electric vehicle, including the use of energy from renewable sources at the city level.
Think is encouraging cities to adopt these measures, in order to induce buyers toward considering an electric vehicle.
TH!NK city electric vehicle
Manufactured by Norwegian electric vehicle (EV) pioneers Think, a company with 17 years experience in EVs, the new TH!NKcity is a modern urban car, with zero emissions, low cost of ownership and silent running, with no road tax and no congestion charge.
The body of the TH!NK city is made of recyclable ABS plastic, which is designed to resist dents and scratches accumulated in city driving. It has a top speed of 62 miles per hour, accelerates from zero to 30 mph in just 6.5 seconds and to 50 mph in 16 seconds.
TH!NK city is designed to meet strict safety requirements. Equipped with ABS brakes, airbags and three-point safety belts with pretensioners, it meets all European requirements.