Think to bring all-electric cars to U.S. next year

The Think City, a modified version of an all-electric car originally developed by Ford, is coming your way. Rev it up to 65 miles per hour!

Michael Kanellos Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Michael Kanellos is editor at large at CNET News.com, where he covers hardware, research and development, start-ups and the tech industry overseas.
Michael Kanellos
2 min read
Think City electric car
The all-electric Think City car enjoys an urban time-out before heading to the U.S. in 2009. Think Global

Think Global, the Norwegian company making an all-electric town car, has reiterated that it will begin to bring its cars to the U.S. in 2009, and it's providing some more details.

The company makes the Think City, a modified version of an all-electric car originally developed by Ford. It can go 65 miles per hour at top speed and 110 miles on a single charge. Thus, it's not for freeway jockeys--instead, it's targeted at those living in urban cores who take relatively short jaunts and can charge the car up a night. The City will compete against a raft of three-wheeled town cars coming to market over the next few years.

Think started shipping the vehicles in Norway late last year, and this year the cars will start to be exported to France, Switzerland, and other Scandinavian countries.

Think CEO Jan-Olaf Willums announced the North American push at the Fortune Brainstorm Green conference in Pasadena, Calif., on Monday, but for the last few years at various events he has been talking about coming to the U.S. around 2009.

Still, this announcement offers some grounds for optimism. Electric car companies have big hurdles to jump through to get to market, so the statement that the cars will start to go on sale in the U.S. next year--a few test vehicles will likely come to the states later this year--means that the company believes it has already achieved some major milestones. (Think, for instance, had to find new battery suppliers last year after Tesla Motors canned its battery group.) Investors in the company--Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Rockport Capital Partners--will help with the effort.

The car is expected to compete against standard economy cars, so expect a price of $35,000 or less. Think also has toyed with the idea of leasing batteries to customers for a fee and then selling them the car for less.