OSLO, NORWAY - THINK, the Scandinavian electric vehicle maker, announced it took a step closer to mainstream volume production this month with the introduction of lithium-ion batteries to THINK City EVs in Europe.
THINK and battery manufacturer Ener1 have been in active partnership for a number of years, developing a match between THINK's EV drive system and the Ener1 lithium-ion battery technology supplied by Ener1 subsidiary EnerDel. The result is Ener1's development of a dedicated 22kWh battery system for the THINK City vehicle.
THINK said that in partnership with EnerDel, the company is poised to further develop global business-to-business opportunities with its integrated electric drive train. The drive train is already being tested in Asia by the Japan Postal Service and by Mazda as part of an Itochu Corp.-led sustainability project in Tsukuba, Japan.
"THINK's adoption of Ener1's battery technology is going to allow us to scale up much more quickly in Europe and also be ready to enter the U.S. market later this year," said THINK CEO Richard Canny. "The volume production of these batteries now underway at Ener1 opens the door for THINK to finally enter higher scale production, now that battery supply constraints are behind us. Not only does lithium-ion offer all sorts of advantages at the customer level, it also opens up the potentially massive business-to-business market for us as well, which will result in significant volume expansion and international growth for THINK."
"Crucially, fast-charging becomes a possibility with EnerDel batteries, as proven in early tests done by THINK and Ener1, where the battery can be charged up to 80 percent of its capacity in just 15 minutes," added Chris Neal, THINK's director of engineering. "The volume introduction of lithium-ion is a big step forward for THINK and the EV industry as a whole."
The latest generation THINK City is a purpose-built, all-electric car designed for urban environments. It can travel at highway speeds and cover 160 kilometers (nearly 100 miles) on a single charge via any conventional household outlet. The vehicle emits zero local emissions. The THINK City is the first EV to be granted certification with the European CE conformity mark and EU homologation requirements (M1 certificate).
European production of the THINK City is underway in Finland with manufacturing partner Valmet Automotive, which also assembles the Boxster and Cayman models for Porsche AG. First customer deliveries are taking place across Europe in selected key EV markets such as the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Austria and others.
THINK also recently announced plans to establish a U.S. production facility during 2011 in Elkhart County, Ind., and is working with Japanese partner Itochu on developing operations in Asia.