The best place for a small electric car is in the city, and with a reasonable day range and put-it-in-your pocket parkability, today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Think is about as City as they come. Let’s see if its price however, has you avoiding it by a country mile.
White Lines by Melle Mel is not only one of my favorite driving songs, it’s also the best song to use as reference to last Friday’s 1992 Volvo 940 Turbo Wagon. After all, that sweet Swede was white; it had lovely long lines; and I think quite a few of us would say we’re addicted to old Volvo wagons. At just $3,200, it was also a habit that wouldn’t drive you to the poorhouse, and that eared it a solid 68 percent Nice Price win. Rang-dang-diggidy-dang-a-dang, indeed.
You know, the one aspect of Tesla that I think is the most amazing is the simple fact that it continues to exist at all. I mean, the automotive industry is a tough nut to crack, especially if your goal is to be a volume producer like Tesla.
The roadsides are metaphorically littered with with car makers that have tried to do what Tesla has so far accomplished but without anything near its success. Think if you will of Coda, Fisker, Elio, and that weirdo Aptera as just a few examples.
What the Hell, don’t bother thinking of those, just think of Think.
The Think started out as a concept city car from Th!nk Mobility, a startup headquartered in Oslo Norway that intended to make all sorts of electric powered vehicles. The Ford Motor Company took an early interest in the company, offering development funding as well as access to Ford’s rich and vast parts bin. Unfortunately, Think arose at the time when Ford was beginning to divest itself of all its non-core brands and products. As a result the funding soon dried up. A small batch of proof of concept cars were produced and shipped to the U.S. beforehand.
When Ford pulled out those cars were packed up and shipped out to Norway where they proved popular for the tax breaks and free parking afforded electric cars by the state government.
During the middle of the last decade, Think hung on, bouncing around between various investors and always on the cusp of introducing some new model that would eventually never see the light of day.
A new name—Think Global—and a new version of their electric City arose during this time. Like the Tesla, the City was a fully realized electric car, not just a rehash of some previous ICE model. Unlike Tesla however, the City didn’t bring Think Global fortune or fame.
This 2011 Think City is one of the about 2,500 of those cars produced between 2007 and 2011. It was built via a knock-down kit in Elkhart, Indiana by the subsidiary company, Think North America Inc. Its lithium-ion batteries were sourced from EnerDel in nearby Indianapolis. Those batteries can store a maximum of 23kWh and that provides the car with a range of between 80 and 100 miles. Regenerative braking (front discs/rear drums) help with that and make the range better in urban stop and go driving than on the open road.
That’s not to say the Think can’t do highway duty. It comes with a top speed of 68 miles per hour and meets the U.S. safety standards of the time. Just don’t expect it to be anything less than terrifying out there owing to its diminutive overall size and tiny tires just waiting to be swallowed by potholes. Let’s just consider the car’s name in regard to where it’s natural habitat really is.
The City’s bodywork is injection molded plastic and that rides on an aluminum spaceframe. Power is produced by a 25 kW 3-phase induction motor which sends its motivation to the front wheels via a fixed ratio gearbox. This one comes in matte grey with silver accents and some jaunty silver and red tape trim that’s a bit of an acquired taste. It should be noted that all the Citys came in a matte finish as that’s the plastic coloring not a paint.
The interior is in great shape and is awash in Ford bits and pieces. You’ll recognize vents, seats, and switchgear all that have a distinct FoMoCo flavor in here, as well as airbag covers that come straight from the Blue Oval. Overall it’s not all that bad. It doesn’t look half-assed in any way, and the car comes with such niceties as power windows, hydroelectric power steering, a stereo, and A/C.
My two favorite elements of the interior however, are the sticker on the instrument panel that requests drivers to “Please Read Instruction Manual Before Use” and the little gas pump with electric cord icon beneath that points right so you know where to plug the car in.
A mere 16,237 miles read on this dealer-offered Think and I’m going to wager should you actually take ownership of it, you will not only be the only person on your block to possess one, but probably in your city as well. The car comes with a clear title and tail lamps that it shares with the Saleen S7 and Lamborghini Diablo.
The asking price for all this is $5,495 and that’s a far cry from the over $40K MSRP from when the car was new. For that present amount you get a fully realized electric car with a range comparable to any of the other limited range electrics that have been on the market in the past 10 or so years. You also get a car that you could park three-up in a standard spot and the bragging rights to be saving the environment and driving a little bit of history. Plus, screw Ford for not making the City a thing.
So, now that you know what the City is, and hopefully aren’t just dismissing it as some sort of glorified golf cart, what do you think about that $5,495 price? Does that seam like a deal to go electric? Or, does that price make you blow a fuse?
H/T to FauxShizzle for the hookup!
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