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Think drives into Brazil

After making headway in the U.S., the all-electric Think City car heads to South America with one commercial buyer lined up.

Think has started outfitting Think City cars for a Brazilian utility. Think

Think's all-electric City car is wending its way to South America, the automaker said Wednesday.

The Think City, featured at this week's Michelin Challenge Bibendum conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, has a taker. As part of its partnership with Think, Brazilian-based utility CPFL Energia has bought three cars with plans to buy more for its fleet.

One utility buying for its fleet may not sound like much. But CPFL Energia serves about 7 million residential and commercial customers and generated revenue of $6 billion in 2009, according to the company.

"Sustainable mobility is fast working its way up the political and environmental agendas here in Brazil, and CPFL wants to be at the forefront of this movement," CPFL Energia CEO Wilson Pinto Ferreira Jr. said in a statement.

The Think City, which is highway-legal, runs exclusively on a rechargeable lithium ion battery power train. It has a range of about 112 miles on a single charge, and a top speed of 60mph. While it can take up to eight hours to fully charge from a 110-volt household outlet, the car can charge to 80 percent capacity in 15 minutes at a fast-charging 220-volt station.

Think announced in April that it will begin selling the City car in New York City within the coming months, with hints at additional roll-outs in Los Angeles, Chicago, San Diego, and San Francisco.

While Think is a Norwegian company it has strong ties to the U.S. It has received $118.5 million in U.S. stimulus grants to open an assembly plant in Elkhart, Ind. near EnerDel, the exclusive battery supplier for all U.S. Think City cars. The plant has a capacity to produce 60,000 cars annually when fully operational.