San Francisco - The first of
several hundred TH!NK city electric vehicles arrived in the U.S. for
demonstration programs in San Francisco and Dearborn, Michigan. The
vehicles arriving today will help pique customer interest in the fun,
innovative and environmentally friendly electric vehicles. Ford
plans to bring a redesigned version of the TH!NK city - now on sale in
Scandinavia - to the U.S. in 2002.
"We want to get these cars
on the road well in advance of the U.S. launch to get customers excited
about the TH!NK city," said Jonathan Richards, TH!NK marketing
manager. "These cars are so unique, so fun to drive that having
them on the road is our best form of advertising."
TH!NK is delivering 15 TH!NK
city cars to Hertz in San Francisco. Hertz will begin offering the
vehicles to BART shared-car subscribers at Hertz's Fremont Station
facility. Subscribers in the share-car program will be able to use the
cars to commute from home to the Fremont station (home end users) or
from the Fremont station to work (corporate end users).
Hertz will also have a limited
number of TH!NK city electric vehicles available for daily rental at its
Fishermen's Wharf location for visitors looking for a small, convenient
city runabout vehicle. Rental of the TH!NK city cars through Hertz are
subject to availability.
In addition to the vehicles
delivered to Hertz, TH!NK is delivering 40 city electric vehicles to
Ford Motor Company in Dearborn as part of the company's pool car fleet.
"Ford Motor Company plans
to lead the industry on environmental issues through our actions,"
said Richards. "We've been using low-emission, natural gas powered
vehicles in our corporate fleet for several years. The TH!NK cities are
a natural choice for commuting on our central campus."
Ford requested and was granted
permission to bring up to 750 TH!NK cities to the U.S. for demonstration
purposes. TH!NK plans to launch several more demonstration programs
throughout the U.S. over the next year and a half.
TH!NK city provides comfortable
transportation for two adults and is designed for urban driving, with a
real-world driving range of approximately 53 miles (85 km) and a top
speed of 56 miles per hour (90 km/h).
A liquid-cooled three-phase
alternating current-induction motor powers the car. Nineteen
nickel-cadmium (NiCad) batteries - also water-cooled for maximum
performance - generate approximately 11.5-kilowatt-hours of energy to
power the motor.
The TH!NK city uses a
220-volt/16-amp circuit with an off-board recharging station. It takes
approximately eight hours to fully charge a drained battery and five
hours to attain an 80 percent charge at 220 volts - the same voltage
that runs most kitchen stoves and clothes dryers.
Most of the vehicle is
recyclable, including its NiCad batteries and the thermoplastic body
TH!NK city went into production
in November 1999 in Norway and is currently sold in Scandinavia. In
addition to TH!NK city, the TH!NK portfolio of zero emission vehicles
also includes TH!NK bike fun (standard frame) and TH!NK bike traveler
(folding frame) electric bicycles and the TH!NK neighbor a low-speed,
battery electric car.