As the cost of oil continues to soar, and as big names like GM and Ford plan to focus production on smaller, more fuel-efficient cars, Norway’s Th!nk City car couldn’t be entering the US at a more opportune time.
The Th!nk City is a compact, electric car capable of going up to 100 km/hr (approx 62 mph) and travel 180 km (approx 112 mi) on a single charge. The company recently announced plans to enter US markets, specifically focusing on California and several other key targeted markets. With it’s body made of recyclable ABS plastic, the City will cost around $25,000, making it both competitive with other EV alternatives such as Zap and AMP, as well as more popular, gas-powered vehicles like the Mini.
In 2006, Norwegian entrepreneur and millionaire, Jan-Olaf Willums, bought the company after nearly a decade of ownership changes and failed to-market ventures (most notably by Ford in the late 90’s), and decided to make it a more “web 2.0”-type company. And, in keeping with the spirit of that kind of company, Willums soon found himself in Silicon Valley knocking on doors of venture capital firms.
Introductions by Joel Makower soon led to talks with Martin Eberhard, CEO of Tesla Motors, and Dean Kamen, the inventor of the Segway Scooter. In the end, Th!nk found backing from General Electric as well as venture firms Rockport Capital and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, who’s resume is smattered with several big-name tech giants such as Netscape, Amazon, and Google.
As the Wall Street Journal reports, the car is just hitting the market in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, where general driving practices (fewer, shorter trips) could make Th!nk a huge success. However, in the US, the story could be very different, and the rising though still debatably tepid reception of Zap and AMP cars could serve as precedent. Regardless, even from the failed EV-1 way back when, no electric car has been in a better position to be successful than the Th!nk now, both in terms of the socio-economic climate of the times as well as the pop-culture status it is generating. In addition to it’s simple, eco-friendly design, it is also wifi and internet capable, can only be bought online, sends you emails when it needs servicing, and allows you to text message the car to the check the battery’s charge. According to search engine blog, Pandia, Th!nk is the “iPod car for the Google generation.”
And the company’s connection to Google can’t hurt either, especially if the cars are eventually added to Google’s fleet of intercampus vehicles, as Pandia reports.
(Photo Source: Th!nk.no)
(More perspective on Inhabitat)