Last April, we reported that a small, affordable electric car would finally be available in the U.S. in 2009. Like many predictions made about electric vehicles, this one was a little optimistic.
On March 12, Norweigian electric car manufactuer Think announced plans to open up a manufacturing plant in the United States. The plant would eventually employ up to 900 people and have the capacity to produce about 60,000 electric vehicles per year.
We see ourselves playing a small but potentially growing role in re-inventing the U.S. auto industry by bringing back new manufacturing jobs to the U.S. to replace internal combustion engine vehicles that are expensive to operate and maintain with clean, efficient electric vehicles.
-Richard Canny, CEO of Think
Think is currently meeting with representatives from 8 different states about the manufacturing plant, but these plans are dependent on securing a loan from the Department of Energy (which the company will apply for on March 31st).
The predicted ‘affordable electric car’, the Th!nk City EV, is a four-seater with 112 mile range and top speed of 65 mph, priced under $25,000, made from 95% recyclable materials, and originally estimated to be available in the U.S. in 2009. It’s now clear that this car will not be available until 2010, and then only as 2500 vehicles for pilot testing and demonstration fleets. The rest of us will have to wait until 2011 to get our hands on one, and by then it might be too late.
What we were most excited about back in April was the timing of this car’s release. While the Think City has ‘city driving appeal’, it’s unclear how well it will be received alongside the more mainstream plug-in hybrids that will be coming online around the same time.
Want to know what the car is actually like? Our friends at Popular Mechanics just took one for a test drive.
[Image credit: Think]