Published in News
TH!NK Electric cars coming to U.S. in 2009
TH!NK GLOBAL importing them from Norway
Talk about turnarounds being fair play: TH!NK GLOBAL was once a part of Ford Motor Company, but was sold to a group of Norwegian investors in 2006; it has now produced an all-electric powered car that it plans to import and sell to Americans.
TH!NK was started in the mid 1990s, developed by Norwegian company, PIVCO (Personal Independent Vehicle Company). PIVCO's launched a third-generation vehicle in 1995, named CityBee (in Europe) and Citi (in the U.S.). 120 CityBees/Citi's were built, with over one-third shipped to California to participate in the Northern California Bay Area Rapid Transit’s (BART) station car program.
A fourth-generation vehicle was then launched in 1998, co-designed with Lotus Engineering, and TH!NK City was launched. Ford then bought PIVCO in 1999 and over 1,000 renamed TH!NK AS vehicles were produced; the vehicles were leased and there was a waiting list.
Ford Motor Company then began to run into financial difficulties. In 2004 Ford abandoned the program and sold the technology, and now TH!NK GLOBAL is here. The TH!NK City car is designed for short jaunts and can go 110 miles on a single charge at a top speed of 65mph.
The cars have been sold in Norway this year and next year will ship to France, Switzerland and other Scandinavian countries, with a few of the test cars coming to the U.S. next year. TH!NK announced the North American launch at the Fortune Brainstorm Green Conference in Pasadena, California, and it is also getting some help from its VC investors, Rockport Capital Partners and Perkins Caulfield & Byers.
The TH!NK City is expected to be priced at $35,000 or less and to compete with Toyota’s Prius and similar sized economy cars. Because frequently required battery replacement (every several years) is so expensive for electric cars, TH!NK is considering leasing the batteries to customers and reducing the price of the car accordingly.