The Wall Street Journal is reporting that a bunch of venture capitalists are now backing Norway’s Think electric-car company. Their plan is to bring the company’s Think City car to the U.S. in 2009 and build it here as well.
I drive a 2002 Ford Think electric car, the open frame model. I’m pretty happy with it, at 3 cents a mile, and I’ve put about 300 miles on it around town since buying it 3 weeks ago. It has gotten a lot of attention in my hometown of Chico, and people are constantly asking me how much it cost and where could they get one? The town is blessed with many alternate back routes, so I don’t have to travel the main congested roads.
The U.S. version is expected to travel 110 miles on a single charge and kind of resembles Smart’s ForTwo. The company expects the car to be priced under $25,000. It’s looking for a site in the U.S. to build U.S.-spec models because it’s cheaper to build an entire line here than it is to ship from Europe, thanks to the weak dollar. Maybe Michigan politicians should be making some calls to Oslo.
The Think City is already in production in Europe, and the company is rushing to produce 10,000 units this year for sale there. One of the people behind the VC funding says they could sell 30,000 to 50,000 Think City cars in the U.S. See Norway’s Think to Produce, Sell Small Electric Cars in U.S. (from WSJ.com)
There is another car that Think has in the pipeline, and it is pretty cool looking, see it below:
Its new concept, called “Ox”, looks to be a much more mainstream vehicle than any of the minicars the company sells overseas.
But the name needs to change, because I don’t want my friends teasing me that I’m driving an “Ox car”. I think they were shooting for some spin on “Oxygen” but missed the mark.
Roughly the size of a Scion xB, the front-wheel-drive Ox MPV will have a 60-kW electric motor and a range of 124 miles on a full charge. It can be charged via a normal household outlet. Charging the car to 80% will take just an hour using a special charger, while a full charge will take 12 hours.
The company is planning to use either sodium or lithium-ion batteries, and there’s a strip of solar cells running down the center of the roof. The Ox is built on an interchangeable platform, so a coupe body style with a larger motor and batteries or a taxicab configuration could also be manufactured.
Unfortunately, the Ox looks to be a true concept, with no firm date on when we could expect to see it on the road. The other unfortunate part is that Think doesn’t have a presence in the U.S. General Electric recently invested $4 million into Think, though, so don’t give up hope of one day seeing the “Ox” on the street. More photos here.
Bring a production version of the Ox with a different name, though, and I’d expect people to line up.