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THINK and AeroVironment to Pursue Projects to Promote Fast-charging Infrastructure; THINK Picks Enerdel as Sole Battery Provider for US

Electric vehicle manufacturer THINK announced that it will work with AeroVironment, Inc. (AV), a leading developer and supplier of electric vehicle charging infrastructure, to pursue demonstration and commercial projects using AV’s level III fast-charge system and the THINK City electric vehicle to jump-start the development of fast-charge infrastructure in the United States.

THINK CEO Richard Canny made the announcement during a 15-minute press conference at the Washington Auto Show—the same amount of time required to charge a THINK City from completely depleted to 80% charged using an advanced fast-charge system.

The AV level III fast-charge system employs a protocol developed by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). (Earlier post.) THINK and EnerDel have for several months been using TEPCO fast charging daily to quickly recharge development vehicles. This work has confirmed the suitability of the fast-charge technology and readiness for commercialization.

THINK and AeroVironment are setting a new standard for extremely quick re-charging – zero to 80 percent in just 15 minutes. This is a major leap forward for electric vehicles. The development and deployment of very-fast-charge stations will help speed the electrification of automobiles in the United States and globally.

—THINK CEO Richard Canny

THINK also announced that it has chosen EnerDel, the Indiana-based lithium ion battery manufacturer, to be the exclusive battery supplier for THINK City electric vehicles sold in the US through 2012. EnerDel also will supply at least 60% of the batteries for THINK City electric vehicles sold in Europe.

THINK City, to be sold in the United States beginning this year, will have a top speed of more than 70 mph (113 km/h) and a range of more than 100 miles (161 km) per full charge. THINK City has an onboard AC charger that can be coupled with an economically priced 220-volt THINK home charging station to provide overnight charging for the vehicle. It can also be charged using 110-volt current on a regular household outlet. The fast-charge system will be a supplementary alternative for customers’ added sense of security and for fleets with daily mileage requirements exceeding the car’s range.

Our experience with more than 1,500 vehicles in use in Europe is that customers using the vehicle for daily commutes and trips around town quickly become comfortable with THINK City’s range of more than 100 miles. For them, the standard over-night charging is a very practical solution. Fast charging’s importance will be for high-use fleets.

THINK recently announced plans for a North American manufacturing facility in Elkhart, Indiana, where the company will build the THINK City beginning early in 2011. The new facility will be in addition to THINK’s current manufacturing capability in Finland, where it has contracted with Valmet to build the THINK City.

THINK expects commercial fleet customers in the US to be among the first users of the fast-charge system, but also anticipates that commercial enterprises—including shopping malls, convenience stores and parking garages—will quickly see the value in offering fast-charging services for their customers as a way to grow business and to demonstrate environmental responsibility.

Comments

Account Deleted

Also good to see that the City for the US will have a top speed of 70 mph. The current European model tops out at 60 mph which is ridiculously slow IMO for an otherwise highway compliant car. Still they should increase the top speed further or people will not be comfortable to drive this vehicle on the highway.

Arne

Good indeed they raised the maximum speed from 60 to 70. Highways are an important part of the infrastructure of large cities and moving about these cities makes them unavoidable. Having a top speed that enables you to easily get along in traffic is very important.

And don't forget the emotional aspect. Who wants to be seen driving a golf cart? Today's reality is that a car needs a top speed of at least 150 kph to be considered a 'real' car by most people.

SJC

I saw a Smart on the freeway and it was barely keeping up with traffic going flat out. Instead of waiting for the world to change, we need to provide alternatives where the customer does not have to give anything up.

Henry Gibson

There is no need for the motorways to allow high speeds. Lower speeds is the easiest way to reduce energy use on roads. Instead of proposing many ways to produce substitute fuels to make up for the inefficient operation of vehicles, there should be a requirement by governments for the reduction of speeds to more efficient levels on all roads. Cars idling in stopped traffic on roads represents ZERO efficiency. Encouragement to use more efficient public transportation and the use of lower speeds on all roads are nearly identical ideas. There is no natural right to have fast roads.

With the use of Artemis hydraulic hybrid systems it is possible to reduce the fuel use by half in cities without using a different engine, but a smaller more efficient engine could reduce the fuel use even more.

I would far rather see ZEBRA batteries available, but there is obviously a conspiracy to prevent US users from using the perfected long tested battery. A ZEBRA battery has a far greater chance of be used for less demanding service when it cannot drive a car at 70 mph. It is not hard to imagine the steel cased battery lasting fifty years in UPS or V2G service.

Electric cars are a fraud on the public; plug-in-hybrid cars are much more flexible, less costly and a more efficient use of money. ..HG..

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