The Ford Think electric car is now a product of Think (formerly spelled Th!nk) Global. Ford sold its interest in Th!nk in 2002. There were 4 Electric Vehicles,
2 cars and 2 - 2-wheelers:
The TH!NK City was the most successful of the THINK line. It was started in 1991 and produced in one form or another by several manufacturers, including Ford, up through 2003. About 1,000 cars were made.
In 2003, the California Air Resources Board rolled back its requirement that 10% of all cars sold in California must be zero emissions. This essentially stopped electric car development by major manufacturers who saw their 100,000 cars per year market evaporate. At about $20,000 per car that's $2,000,000,000 or $2 billion US.
Think City today - Looked good
But did not sell well at $41,000 USD
Think City in 2007
The Th!nk Neighbor
The Th!nk City
The Th!nk Bike Traveller
The Th!nk Bike Fun
OOPS - Th!nk Bankrupt!
In any case, the THINK City did not sell especially well. Actually, the cars were by lease only. In 2004, Ford ordered a recall. The plan was to crush the remaining vehicles, just like the EV1.
Elbil Norge, a Norwegian EV car manufacturer, had made offers to purchase the remaining
THINK fleet, since Norway is renewable energy powered and supportive of electric cars.
However, it turned out that there was support for the Ford THINK electric car. People protested, and mock funerals were held.
Similarities between the THINK and the EV1 are striking: Both vehicles could only be obtained by lease. Lessees of both vehicles implored the manufacturers to buy the vehicles. Both vehicles were basically forcefully repossessed at the end of the leases and slated to be sent to the crusher.
After a well publicized Greenpeace rally, Ford ended the recall and sent the remaining THINK cars back to Norway. The company has subsequently been through some trials to maintain production.
However, the Norwegian built car has continued on. The Ford THINK electric car has evolved. It looks like some 2,300 have voted with their wallets so far and believe the THINK EV is worth the purchase. At this time, the THINK City is one of the world’s few crash tested and highway certified electric cars. The future of THINK however, is undetermined...see below.
You can link to the Think City US and European model specs here. At 65 mph tops, it may be a little slow for some. Otherwise, it has efficiencies (about 250 Wh/mi) on par with the much touted Nissan Leaf and BYD e6. The range is plenty for most people not affected by range anxiety and it is a cool looking EV.
In recent news, it looks like the THINK is to be manufactured back in the USA, at a plant in Elkhart, IN sometime in 2011. Production has started with 10-20 cars per day rolling off the assembly line. These cars are gliders from Norway which are finished out at the Elkhart plant. 2011 could see 3,000 cars produced.
Soon, the THINK City could be distributed at up to 800 outlets throughout France. The cars will be moved through the Mobivia Groupe and its newly established sustainable mobility division, O2City. The French Government is supporting this biggest deal in the history of the THINK.
In the meantime, 4,000 THINK and Buddy electric cars have taken to the roads of Norway, which makes it the
most electric car saturated country to date. Go electric Norway!
No matter the EV count in Norway, THINK has declared bankruptcy. The high priced THINK City could not keep
up with other EV offerings like the Leaf and Volt.
Good news: Think Global has been acquired by Russian owners. A consortium of two companies and a Russian entrepreneur are taking charge of the electric car concern. The Elkhart plant is reported to remain operational.