Test Driving the Think City Electric Car

Jim Motovalli gets a quick spin behind the wheel of the car he thinks might save the American Rust Belt.

Published: 17-Jan-2010

DETROIT -- I am in the driver's seat of one of the most heavily anticipated electric cars, the Think City. The car comes to us from Norway, though it has a long and colorful American history. Think (or as it's sometimes written, Th!nk) was owned by Ford from 1999 to 2002. The company was then producing another, less-evolved version of the City and the Think Neighbor, a golf cart-type electric vehicle for local use.

Ford did little with the brand, but some 1,000 cars were produced (mostly sold in Europe). The Ford venture ended in ignominy when the remaining cars in the pipeline were crushed, just like the GM EV-1s in Who Killed the Electric Car?.

Think struggled for a while, and went through the Norwegian version of bankruptcy, but it is now on a roll. Indiana-based battery maker Ener1 is the lead investor in reviving the company's fortunes, and it is once more churning out small batches of EVs (now from Finland's Valmet, where the Porsche Boxster and the forthcoming Fisker Karma are built).

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