Think Global Gets Investment from GE, Launches TH!NK City, Introduces New Crossover EV Concept and Signs Li-Ion Supply Deal with A123Systems
|The TH!NK City.|
At the Geneva Motor Show, Norwegian electric car manufacturer Think Global presented a new investment relationship with GE, which is putting $4 million into Think via GE Energy Financial Services to further ramp up GE’s efforts to enable global electrification of transportation.
Think also launched its TH!NK City electric vehicle, unveiled a five-seat crossover concept car—the TH!NK Ox—and announced a commercial supply agreement with lithium-ion battery manufacturer A123Systems. The TH!NK City now offers a choice of three battery packs: a 28 kWh Zebra sodium nickel chloride pack, a 26 kWh Li-ion pack from Enerdel and a 19 kWh Li-ion pack from A123Systems.
GE Energy Financial Services announced it has also invested in A123Systems to help the company roll out batteries for Think. GE is now A123’s largest single cash investor, having put more than $20 million into the company.
The GE Global Research Center has been working with A123 on the development of safe and reliable battery-powered transportation, and this has allowed us to accelerate delivery of advanced battery solutions to Think. Our newest collaboration with Think helps us achieve the large-scale production of batteries and integrate them into commercially available electric vehicles.—David Vieau, A123Systems’ President and CEO
A123 is now drawing on the research and technology development expertise of GE Global Research in Niskayuna, New York. The joint research will support A123’s battery development, including batteries for Think’s vehicles.
The TH!NK City. The reborn TH!NK City is a three-door, two-seat (two additional rear seats are available as an option) electric vehicle powered by a 30 kW electric motor and a choice of the three battery packs.
Top speed for the vehicle is 100 kph (62 mph). It accelerates from 0-50 kph (31 mph) in 6.5 seconds, and from 0 - 80 kph (50 mph) in 16.0 seconds. Range, which varies with battery pack, is from 130 to 180 kilometers.
TH!NK city will feature a “Mind Box”—a small computer containing both GPS and GPRS functionality. The system transmits state of charge and other vehicle statistics directly to a mobile phone or personal computer. The Mind Box will give the driver direct connection to a customer service function, and will automatically call for assistance when an airbag is deployed. Fleet managers are able to both locate and control the charge rate for all fleet vehicles.
|TH!NK City Battery Options|
|Type||Sodium nickel chloride (Zebra)||Li-ion
(layered manganese oxide)
|Storage System Density (Wh/kg)||114.3||73.1||100|
|Nominal Voltage (V)||370||370||370|
Think Global will own and maintain the battery. The customer pays a monthly fee—approximately €200 (US$305)—which includes a full maintenance service agreement, carbon offset payments and, in some countries, all electricity used, and insurance. Think will exchange the battery when necessary.
Sales begin this spring initially in Norway, followed by Denmark and Sweden later in the year. As production volume ramps up, Think Global will target the main European cities in 2009, starting with London, Paris, Berlin, Milan and Amsterdam. The car will be sold for approximately €20,000 (US$30,500).
|The TH!NK Ox.|
TH!NK Ox. The TH!NK Ox Crossover is an electric five-seat car close to the size of a sport utility vehicle but lighter and more aerodynamic. The Ox is a platform concept, designed for electric drive vehicles, for both the European, North American and Asian markets. It is the basis for a variety of vehicle styles, starting with the TH!NK Ox Crossover 5-seater.
A space frame concept features the main crash structure and the batteries centrally placed in two compartments in the lower frame. The TH!NK Ox Platform design allows two different standards of battery packs:
High stack: two compartments, allows use of low cost, high range sodium batteries;
Low stack: gives space for flat Li-ion packs, allows lower/upper frame for sports car and flat flow applications.
The crossover is designed to use a 60 kW motor and a range of 200 km (124 miles) with a top speed of 135 kph (84 mph).
GE announced its electric transportation investments at the Washington International Renewable Energy Conference in Washington, DC. The investments were made by GE Energy Financial Services’ recently expanded seven-member venture capital group, with offices in Stamford, CT; San Francisco, CA; and Munich, Germany. That group has invested nearly US $100 million in 12 companies during the last 18 months.
GE’s electric transportation research includes a US$5.6 million US Energy Department contract to develop smaller, lower cost, higher performing hybrid drivetrain motors for hybrid electric vehicles. In addition, GE is working on a US$1.2 million project to develop advanced high temperature, high energy density capacitors. GE researchers are also engaged in a US$13 million project with the US Federal Transit Administration and other industrial partners to build a prototype lightweight, battery-dominant zero emissions hybrid fuel cell bus.