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Th!nk City

Test drive Th!nk

The of the Th!nk. Elmonet. was kind to allow me to test drive a The Th!nk is an electric two-seater a maximum range of 180 km. Want to what I thought of it? Read on!

The design (which is actually Th!nk City, but because s only one model Th!nk just calls it simply hails from the early Ford took an interest in and invested in the company. Unfortunately, lost interest after 5 years and sold all their in 2004.

The company struggled to after that, but since a few new investors took an interest and the demand for electric cars is which helped Th!nk According to Th!nk their line in Aurskog (Norway) 5000 vehicles per year, is the highest volume production of cars that I know of. is now series-producing the i-MiEV, which I drove two months ago, and they say they intend to 30.000 cars per year I ll it when I see it.

Apart from the the Th!nk can actually be bought in the today, while the i-MiEV only be available in the Netherlands in number by the end of 2010 according to

Koplamp van de Th!nk

The Th!nk has an and steel frame which is by ABS plastic panels. This can be replaced easily. Because the are coloured all the way through small and dents hardly show up and do not Looking under the small shows that electric are technically much simpler fossil cars.

The 20kW motor lies between the wheels next to a normal 12V for things like lights and there s the controller box with all the handling the charging and driving and a system for the motor and the controller There is lots of space

The Th!nk comes equipped a Zebra battery which can 28kWh of electrical energy. type of battery has an electrolyte of salt. which is kept at at a of 250 ° C.The battery is mounted a large thermos bottle so this heat only out very slowly. Even external heat the batteries hot for several days, and heat is lost can be replenished by the charching

According to the standard test the Th!nk should have a of 180 km on this battery. Because the cycle is slightly optimistic I that in practice a range of 150 km should be considered realistic. still depends on several such as weather (and that, the use of the 4kWh electric driving style, tyre vehicle load, etc.

By choosing the the name Th!nk the obviously wanted to imply this is a smart car, and not just smart in the area of use and CO2-emissions. The Th!nk can be equipped a so-called Mind Box, an box with several functions. The state of the battery can be retrieved a mobile phone, and also, pressing the Assist button on the the box can send all kinds of technical and data about the car to the manufacturer. If, an accident, the airbags deploy the Box can alert the emergency services.

the box has both a GPS and an internet connection I it to be useful as milage registration and maybe even as a vehicle system.


Safety got a lot of attention in the it features dual airbags, belt pretensioners, steel around the door frame and an designed frame which crash-energy away from the Although the indepenent organisation NCAP has not crash tested the (yet), crash tests and simulations indicate that the should get about three This is comparable to compact cars like the Suzuki

Because of its deformable plastic the Th!nk maybe relatively to pedestrians in a collision, although might be negated by a considerable by its fairly high curb of nearly 1050 kg.

In a fossil car the heat from the internal engine is used to heat the Because an internal combustion is very inefficient there is enough heat available for task. In electric cars are very different; because an motor is very efficient is hardly any excess heat

That s why the Th!nk is equipped a 4kW electric heater.

De achterkant van de

The appearance of cars an issue of  discussion. It seems to me that s no part of a car that s so thoroughly as its looks, sometimes in nearly terms like Demure, and elegant lines with few frills . Road handling, technology, price, handy arrangement are all things that car talk about but the exterior thus, its image) seems to the greatest say in the final score.

I, for have never really bothered with how a car looks. Ik see a car as an article of use which should me from A to B as safely, efficiently and as possible. I don t own a car now, but when I did I successively a Suzuki Alto, an Kadett and Opel Astra, all of not the most exciting cars.

I don t quite understand the fascination for the of cars, as you are inside it for nearly all the you are using it! It has probably something to do the fact that cars are symbols par excellence, objects which people present to the outside world, which is a the car-marketing focusses on.

The exterior of the seems to split the world: either think it s cute or It s quite different from the familiy car most Dutch drive. Firstly, the outside is made of somewhat rough which doesn t shine.

In a where shiny metal is the this seems to put people Secondly, the Th!nk is undeniably a car; with its length of 312 cm its 40 cm than a Suzuki Alto, it s 10 cm wider. These differences its proportions different from the generation of fossil cars.

the car marketing-machine trying to sell new model car as unique it seems both the car press and the average car hardly ever appreciate unique designs.

Despite my of interest in the looks of a car I really don t the Th!nk ugly. With its open headlights I think it has a nose. The front looks to me a bit the VW New Beetle.

The back is not that from some other currently on the road. It has a large hatchback, going all the way down to the that s the only slightly design feature. The only from which the Th!nk decidedly different is from the from there it s obvious its short compared to its other That will strike people as weird .

I can t discover wrong with it.

Dashboard van de

Although I don t care about how the of a car looks I do think it s nice if the looks and feels nice. s where you spend nearly all the you are using the car. One of the thing seems to have contributed to the design is the dashboard. This undoubtedly account for the fact it looks like any dashboard in any Together with the conventional it makes the Th!nk very to operate.

Everyone who has driven a car with an automatic tranmission be able to get into a Th!nk and it without any problems at all. The part of the dashboard, just the windshield, is covered in some of fabric, that s a bit unusual. It nice to the touch and it makes the pettable .

An employee of Elmonet in Eelde) was kind enough to the time to drive the Th!nk to the station of Groningen so that I t have to take a bus all the way to Eelde. introductions were made I drive the Th!nk immediately. A brief introduction was enough to be to drive the Th!nk. After the ignition key the dashboard comes Behind the steering wheel are three large dials show, from left to the battery charge level, de speed and current energy

The latter shows how much the Th!nk is using at any given and can even indicate a negative flow if the accelerator is released or the pedal is pressed lightly. The motor is then used as a and it converts the kinetic energy the car into electricity with the battery is charged.

The centre displays a clear indicator of the gear (which, in this is a bit of a misnomer as the car is an automatic with one fixed gear), and just in the i-MiEV the driver can choose D (Drive) and E (Eco). In E-mode the is a little less brisk and braking is more aggressive. All controls for lighting, ventilation, etc. als very conventional and very easy to operate.

because the car is a two-seater there is internal space for driver and I m quite tall (1m88) and was more than enough and headroom. I can t remember specifically how the s seat felt and that means it was fine. Optionally you can two small extra seats in the cargo space. This the Th!nk owner to transport one or two up to the age of about 10.

Because the battery is the floor at the rear of the car there s not legroom for fullsize seats, and the vehicle is too short for that. makes the Th!nk an option for with children, although the seats will reduce the space, which is relatively to almost nothing.

De Th!nk

I quite conservatively the first few because I didn t know the but that didn t last The Th!nk is very easy to and soon I became more At first we drove through the of Groningen, followed by about 10 km the motorway to Eelde. The return consisted of a mix of 50km roads, roads and motorways to give me the to test the car at all speeds. The Th!nk is at its in the city.

Acceleration up to 50 km/h is quick, I did not time it but I m pretty you d leave any unsuspecting fossil car you at the traffic lights. This the car to easily keep up with the of traffic the question is: can they up with the Th!nk? This had no power steering, so at low speeds was a bit heavier than I expected but the speed is above 20..30 it s really not noticable anymore.

On 80km roads the Th!nk pretty well. Acceleration to 80 takes 16 seconds, according to the and with that you re absolutely no road block.  Even on the driving the Th!nk was absolutely not

It takes a while before you ve the top speed of 115 km/h but it s certainly not

The Th!nk is pleasantly quiet at all At higher speeds there is a slight whine from the (or more likely: the transmission), but the told me that in this two old Th!nk the motor compartment is not as insulated as in the newest models. I did not consciously hear it, the vacuum is mounted on damping rubbers in new so that it should not be audible at

Tyre- and windnoise is audible, at higher speeds but it s certainly not or less than in other It may be a bit more noticable because s hardly any motor noise.

All in all I to say dring the Th!nk is a pleasant It s quiet, easy to operate and enough to make dring it Just like with the I was struck by how normal the driving is and I m still convinced that s a smart move.

When it to cars most people are conservative, and electric cars are weird enough so that a way of operating it could put buyers

Compared to the i-MiEV

In the previous I already compared some of the Th!nk with the Mitsubishi (see the article on that drive), because the cars are in many ways. Also, it has been two months since I ve the i-MiEV so the experience is still in my mind. Acceleration, cornering, of operation, normalness , inner (on the front seats at least), and price are all very close the two cars.

There some differences: outside finish vs. plastic/rough), 2+2 seater vs. 4-seater, on the now vs. possibly available by the end of 2010, brand vs. newcomer. One difference in was the Eco-mode.

Th!nk City

In the i-MiEV the Eco-mode itself felt by a much lively acceleration and also a more pronounced motorbreaking. In the I only felt a somewhat motorbreaking, hardly any difference in

Especially the differing number of will probably see both serve different markets, but the i-MiEV is on the market they ll no be competitors as well.

In its standard the Th!nk is listed for € 38585, is quite a stiff price for a car of size. When want the car with all possible options it s to raise the price to € 43391, and s a price not many will be to afford. The price is caused by other things) the small in which the car is produced, 5000 per year is really not a lot.

s also still quite handwork involved in the production of the which is expensive. You re also for the newness of the product; mobile were very expensive they first appeared on the twenty years ago, now every one can afford one.

The list price does not say it the running costs should be low. Electric cars are simple machines and have few parts that can wear It s fuel is very cheap; at a of € 0,25 per kWh I calculate a price of € 4,- per 100 km.

A fossil car (5 l per 100 km) would cost € 7,50 per 100 km (at € 1,45 per l of petrol). In the if one would lease the Th!nk (or any full-electric car) only 10% of the price would be added to year salary for tax purposes to 22% for a normal fossil car). The as a full-electric car, is also from road tax.

insurance can be cheap, it is possible to get an indurance for just € 700 per year.

with all these benefits the will not able to compete on alone with a small car like a Suzuki Alto. But of with a Th!nk you don t just buy a you an electric car. By doing you show that you think ahead than other that you care about like Peak Oil and climate And don t forget that driving the and quiet Th!nk is simply

Not all people love the internal engine with all its associated I hope that many and companies will invest in like the Th!nk (and the and all the other electric cars are on their way to the market) so that ll become affordable for the larger soon.

I was pleasantly surprised by the of handling and other qualities of the I had read about the car before the drive and especially the conventional car isnot always positive this car. I read some don t like the finish on the of the car, but it looked to me there was wrong with it and the Th!nk I was two years old.

As always when I test a non-conventional vehicle, I ask myself: I buy one?

The answer is, no, not at this First and foremost: Fortunately I don t a car. I can easliy get arouind by and public transport so I don t need a car.

If I need to go somewhere I can t easily go by bicycle or public I borrow a car, bu that doesn t happen a lot.

the price, obviously. If I really a car I would certainly consider a car. The range is adequate for the of driving I would do, and because the I live (Hilversum) is situated centrally in the Netherlands I could a large part of the country.

But I don t have € 38500 available for a even if the lower running mean the total costs per km be lower.

If, in the future, I ever I would need a car, and if the has come down then the or a comparable car might certainly be an The funny thing is that we a 200 kWh yearly surplus from our panels. On this surplus the would be able to travel 1300 km for free .

If we would to travel about 13000 km per would roughly have to be in size, which is less of an than I would have

In the Netherlands, the Th!nk is imported by

Burg. J.G. Legroweg 64A

TD Eelde (right accross the from airport Groningen)

T:

F: 050-3048049

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