2008-02-08

The first proper and decent looking electric car (EV) will ship in Europe this year

I promised myself that I will never buy a car with a conventional combustion engine that runs on regular fuel. I told myself that I will wait until a proper battery-powered electric vehicle is available before I buy a car. It looks as if I could buy my first car this year: a Think City. Think Global AS, a Norwegian automotive company that used to be a subsidiary of Ford, is now advertising its new electric car (EV), the Think City, which features a maximum range of 180 km with one charge, a maximum speed of 100 km/h and a charging time of 10 hours for a full charge. And above all, it looks like a regular small car:
Technology Review's December issue has a lengthy story on the baby (in German) and refers to it as "an iPod on wheels". However, the most important information is missing from the official website and the review: Availability and Price. I wrote an E-Mail to Think and received a very prompt reply. Here is the deal:
The car will be launched in the UK, Norway, Switzerland and Denmark in 2008. In 2009 we will look to launching in more European countries plus the US and Canada.
Switzerland! Hooray! I can get one this year! I knew it was a good idea to move to Switzerland.. If I can afford it, because the little gizmo comes with a steep price tag and a little catch:
The car costs from 199.000.- NOK [Note: at current conversion rates, thats 24.772,53 EUR]. In addition, one rents a battery pack for 975.- NOK [121,37 EUR] (plus tax) a month.
The indicated prices are for the Norwegian market and will be adjusted for in other countries. We have included the mobility agreement because;
1. The battery is still quite expensive.
2. Think is responsible for the battery functioning as it should.
3. Think will deliver a new battery when needed without any additional costs.
4. It will be possible to "upgrade" to other battery technologies when available.
According to the Technology Review report mentioned above, the true reason for this "mobility agreement" is another one: The battery is so expensive that it doesn't make sense to fracture its price into the price of the car; the overall price for the car would be beyond reason. Thus, they found a clever way of fracturing out the cost of the energy pack: You buy the car but you lease the battery, i.e. technically, you don't own the battery but pay a monthly fee to use it. I think that is rather clever. And at "180 km range at the price of a glass of mineral water" (company website) and with drastically reduced taxes due to zero-emission, 120 EUR per months looks like a fair deal to me.

I probably won't buy one though, because its limited range destines its prime use to commuting to work and for shopping, and I do both very conveniently by Z├╝rich's perfect public transport. Sigh. But who knows? If the range expands I'll get one. And I am really glad that there finally is a decent electric car available in Europe. Well done, Think!

Even if you don't speak German, make sure to check out the beautiful photo gallery of the Technology Review Article. I especially like the plug beneath the fuel tank cap.

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Blogger Parsifal362 said...

Great, I love that car. Strangely, however, I have never seen that car neither in Switzerland, Sweden or Germany, and now we are already in 2014. Perhaps the company went bankrupt before and we are now stuck with BMW & CO electric cars.

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