Think's electric cars to roll into New York

Highway-legal electric cars from the Norwegian start-up will go on sale in the U.S. first in the New York area due to local government support, company says.

Will New Yorkers take to the Think's City EV? Think City

Think will begin selling its all-electric City cars in the New York metropolitan area within the coming months, the company said Thursday.

Think's City model is a highway-legal electric vehicle that runs solely on a lithium ion battery system and gives off zero emissions. The car, which has a top speed of 60 mph, can be charged from either a standard U.S. 110-volt household outlet, or a fast-charging 220-volt station that can be installed for home use. The small two-door car, clearly intended for city driving and parking, has a battery system with a range of about 112 miles per charge.

Via the fast-charging 220-volt station, a Think City car can charge from zero to 80 percent capacity in about 15 minutes. However, using a standard household outlet can take up to eight hours.

New York had made Think's shortlist for the first U.S. release of its cars , but Los Angeles, Chicago, San Diego, and San Francisco were also contenders.

The choice of New York as Think's first U.S. market was due to state and local government support of the vehicle, according to Think.

Think, which has applied for U.S. Department of Energy loans, has gotten a lot of attention from both the U.S. media and government in large part because the Norway-based company offered to make the Think City a somewhat American-made car and help create green U.S. jobs in the process. And the New York government support that Think mentions is not such a coincidence given the fact that Ener1, a New York-based company, is the parent of Indiana-based EnerDel, the exclusive supplier of the lithium ion battery system for the Think City car in the U.S.

In January,Think announced plans to open a U.S. "assembly facility" in Elkhart, Ind . That is set to open in 2011 to supply Think's North American market and is in close proximity to EnerDel's battery manufacturing facilities, also based in Elkhart. The plant is expected to produce 20,000 cars in its first full year of operation but has the capability to turn out up to 60,000 cars annually, according to Think.

Think said Thursday that Chicago was runner-up. It's a good bet that it will be the next city where Think City cars become available, given the company's ties to nearby Indiana.

Think's U.S. battery supplier, EnerDel , has been held up to the public as an example of the U.S. stimulus package working successfully. The Indiana-based battery manufacturer, which also has deals with Volvo, Nissan, and Fisker Automotive, received $118.5 million in U.S. stimulus grants. The money to expand its production facilities is estimated to create 1,700 jobs.

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About the author

In a software-driven world, it's easy to forget about the nuts and bolts. Whether it's cars, robots, personal gadgetry or industrial machines, Candace Lombardi examines the moving parts that keep our world rotating. A journalist who divides her time between the United States and the United Kingdom, Lombardi has written about technology for the sites of The New York Times, CNET, USA Today, MSN, ZDNet, Silicon.com, and GameSpot. She is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not a current employee of CNET.

 

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