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Enova to Provide Power Control Units for 2nd-Generation Th!nk Electric Vehicles

Enova Systems is partnering with Norway-based Inspire investment group and its newly acquired investment Think Group to provide Power Control Units (PCU) for the resurrected Th!nk Electric Vehicle. Their goal is to prepare for the production and introduction of the second-generation Th!nk City model which Ford Motor Company and Th!nk developed while Ford owned Th!nk.

Enova’s PCU is a critical component of the vehicle’s power system, converting and regulating high voltage power to lower voltages where and as required. The PCU transfers power throughout the drive system and the battery, and assists in energy recovery during regenerative braking.

InSpire took over the Norwegian electric car manufacturer Think in March 2006. Think produced one of the largest fleets of electric vehicles in the world with the Th!nk City, launched in 1999. A new model is now under development and will be launched in Norway in 2007 and selected international markets in 2008.

InSpire is focused on developing a radically modern business model for producing, sourcing, marketing servicing and financing the electric vehicle in a commercially sustainable way.

The second-generation Th!nk City vehicle is a unique product that was never fully produced by Ford. A primary reason that Ford withdrew from producing the vehicles was that the battery technology had not evolved enough such that the range of the vehicle was compromised. The new investor group has access to new and advanced technology which will be further developed and utilized to improve the vehicle, with particular emphasis on performance and driving range.

The driving range is expected to be 180 km (112 miles), with a top speed of 100 - 110 kph (62 - 68 mph) and a 0-50 kph (0-31 mph) acceleration of seven seconds.

Comments

Neil

Ford should have had more patients. Batteries are within spitting distance of doing the job. (price is the biggest problem at the moment)

Ron Fischer

Ford was only in the battery EV game because California mandated it. As soon as the mandate wavered the BEVs were sent to the crusher. While Ford has a responsibility to shareholders how expensive could it have been to keep Th!nk going? My sense is that US automakers took that as a lesson and are now trying 'wait out' what they see as the 'hybrid fad'. There are hints that, given a recession and a coming glut of biodiesel capacity, that diesel engines may become much more attractive as a means of fuel-saving.

Patrick

GM is no longer saying it is a fad and is now discussing the possibility of reviving electric cars in a few years. They are envisioning something more like a BEV with an on-board generator rather than the classic hybrid layout and have even mentioned they would like to create a fuel cell vehicle with the fuel cell used to recharge the battery stack instead of produce electricity for the motors directly.

fyi CO2

Very respectable specs, how much will the design differ from the '02 model?

fyi CO2

Maybe some enterprising ENOVA peeps will bring distribution to Cal/US?

Neil

Very cute! Their site was a little short on technical details. I'm just wondering what kind of batteries it will use. One of their other products uses zebra batteries.

Charles S

"There are hints that, given a recession and a coming glut of biodiesel capacity, that diesel engines may become much more attractive as a means of fuel-saving"

If there is a recession, most people will not want to buy a new car, let alone a diesel or a hybrid. If someone is going to dump their old car for a new one in a RECESSION, it would be the $10-14K+ subcompacts that sells well rather than $21K-$55K+ premium diesels.

Of course, there is always the irony that luxury items still sells well during times of economic downturn for the have-nots. So while VW TDIs may suffer, I can see Mercedez BlueTEC or Lexus LS600h doing well in a recession.

Matt

Most people buy cars under lease.

Under lease, an EV would have a higher monthly payment, but a lower fuel cost / repair cost.

There is no reason why EVs won't become cost competitive with IC engines really soon. EVs with fewer parts and no complex IC engine, transmission, catalytic converters, also have the option for providing grid assistance via V2G, thus increasing their worth.

I think the hold up is a bunch of old engineers that are focused on the IC. The electric car is just too different for them, requiring them to throw away 4 - 6 years of education & have to relearn completely new things.

Its like when PCs replaced mainframes & mini-computers.

Its going to happen though & US manufacturers better start getting serious about it. Japan & Asia already produce all the batteries.

I'm really big time surprised Europe hasn't already embraced them -- with $6 / gallon gasoline & a history of electric trains already.

Matt

Magnus

It looks like Inspire is really going for the new Think! model. They are looking to hire a lot of management and tech people on their website.

Some Jerk

Glad to see Think! is still kicking. The first generation Think! was used as a shared car by a few transit agencies as a pilot project. It is an excellent choice for station car applications. Providing fleets of these at suburban rail stations for commuters could dramatically increase the usefulness of transit by letting riders reach destinations unserved by transit. With a central base for them to be recharged for short trips, an electic car is perfect.

One park and ride space can instead support several Think! cars, used by people renting them by the hour during the day to run errands, and by commuters who take them home at night as part of a monthly plan. Flexcar and Zipcar are showing the future, but transit agencies need to move in and scale the system up to where it is a viable option to a second car.

SJC

Some-

I agree. This could change travel and car rental in a major way. If hotels have charging lots this could eliminate stopping for gas and reduce city air pollution.

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