Are you a “Norway Enthusiast”? Do your ears perk up or your eyes shoot to articles that mention Norway? Are you rooting for Norwegian athletes in the Olympics and proud of any new accomplishments or advances that Norwegian companies or individuals make? You are not alone. I root very hard for the USA to do well in everything, but as a Norwegian-American I save some energy and pride for Norway too.
Brendan Prebo shows us the TH!NK City
I get the most enthusiastic when something real good happens in the USA that is somehow connected to Norway. So you can imagine how I felt when TH!NK EV announced that they were coming to Elkhart, Indiana to build small electric cars for the US market. TH!NK EV is a Norwegian company that is currently building electric vehicles for the European market and was once a partner of Ford Motors. I believe that the EV (Electric Vehicles) revolution is just around the corner and it is great to see that so many companies (including Ford and GM) are starting to build these vehicles here in the USA.
Inside the TH!NK City, it looks and feels just like any other car.
TH!NK EV invited me to the “South Shore Clean Cities” Annual Meeting in Merrillville, Indiana, to see and drive the TH!NK City this past week. My first impression of the car is very favorable. When many people think of small electric cars they think of the electric cart that we drive at the golf course, the TH!NK City is not
an oversize golf cart. This car can handle highway speeds with a top speed of 70 mph and while it is not a race car I was able to punch the accelerator and get it going from a stop, into traffic rather quickly. I sat much higher up in the car than when I sit in my wife’s car, which gave me a good view of the road and I had plenty of leg and head room. The car is almost 8 inches narrower than my SUV, which means that my mothers husband would feel a little cramped, but my passenger and I were comfortable sitting in the front seats. And it meets all US car safety standards.
The TH!NK City has a driving range of around 100 miles, which means that it is only a commuter and short distance vehicle. When I was working in downtown Chicago I drove 7 miles each way to the train station. This car would be perfect for this type of commuting. If Chicago could build a few charging stations in parking garages in Millennium Park I could drive into the city recharge while I was at work, then drive home all on about $2 worth of electricity (based on TH!NK’s cost estimate of 2 cents per mile), my small SUV gets 18 mpg in the city and this trip would cost $14 in gas.
Brendan Prebo, marketing director for TH!NK North America indicated to me that for the first couple of years TH!NK will concentrate on selling vehicles to fleet operators in the Chicago, New York and West Coast areas. Fleet car users like government agencies (city & state) or utility, repair or other companies where cars average 30 to 80 miles per day would be great candidates for these vehicles and because the car has a large (29 cubic foot) rear storage area I could see small downtown package delivery companies enjoying this economical car. And think (no pun intended), of the reduction of pollution in our city core area, because this car has no tailpipe emissions! My mail carrier told me that she only drives 19 miles a day to make her deliveries, this would mean that our US mail systems could be called “Electric Mail”.
As a Norway enthusiast I am excited about TH!NK coming to the USA. They will be employing a number of worker in the Elkhart, Indian area and doing some good things to provide economical alternative transportation for the USA roads.
Driving the TH!NK City.
Ken Nordan – Contributing Editor
Read Full Post »