delivers domestic-built electric cars
THINK™, an electric vehicle manufacturer,
has delivered its first American-built cars to the State of Indiana
for use in its government fleet. The 15 vehicles, which were
shipped from THINK’s manufacturing facility in Elkhart, Indiana,
will be the first electric passenger vehicles with American-made,
Lithium-ion batteries used in a domestic fleet operation.
The economics of electric vehicles for fleet operators in terms
of cost of ownership are highly positive. With defined travel
routes and centralized recharging and service, fleets are the
natural platform to launch this new industry.
The THINK City model is an all-electric, zero-emission car designed
in Scandinavia for fleet applications and urban commuters. Durable,
highly maneuverable and with low maintenance, the THINK City
can travel 100 miles on a single charge, using advanced Lithium-ion
batteries manufactured in Indiana by Ener1, Inc. The vehicle
has accumulated more than 35 million road miles in customer experience
since it was first safety certified in Europe in 1999.
The vehicle presentation took place at Fort Harrison State Park
outside of Indianapolis and was presided over by Governor Mitch
Daniels. The cars were delivered to the Department of Administration
and will be used principally by the Department of Natural Resources
in the state’s park system.
Mass deployment of electric vehicles in the state of Indiana
is being facilitated by Project Plug-IN, an initiative organized
by the Energy Systems Network (ESN), which is creating one of
the most advanced ecosystems to support electric transportation
in the country.
By early 2011, ESN will place 100 or more electric vehicles and
supporting charging infrastructure with government and corporate
fleets, as well as selected individual commuters, across the
Indianapolis metropolitan area. Project Plug-IN enlists a wide
range of industry and government partners to solve technical
and regulatory challenges related to preparing communities for
electric vehicles and is helping lead the national government-industry
dialog to develop deployment community strategies.
“Our goal with Project Plug-IN is the seamless transition for
consumers from gas-powered to electric cars,” said ESN president
and CEO Paul Mitchell. “To make this happen requires collaboration
among vehicle and battery makers, utilities and government agencies
at all levels and the willing participation of fleet operators,
like the Department of Administration. The response so far has
THINK plans to roll out retail distribution in select cities
in the second half of 2011. The retail distribution timeline
coincides with the company’s plans to expand the production line
at its Elkhart facility, where the company currently employs
more than 25 local workers. By the end of 2011, THINK will have
more than 100 people in Elkhart building electric cars and more
than 415 by the end of 2013. The company also builds the THINK
City in Finland for sale in Europe.