THINK, the Scandinavian electric vehicle maker, makes a further stride towards mainstream volume production this week with the first introduction of award-winning lithium-ion batteries to THINK City EVs in Europe. THINK and Ener1 have been in active partnership for a number of years, developing and perfecting the match between THINK’s industry-leading EV drive system and the award-winning Ener1 lithium-ion battery technology supplied by Ener1 subsidiary, EnerDel. The result is Ener1’s development of a dedicated 22kWh battery system for the THINK City; the first pure electric vehicle of its kind to use this new generation technology.
With this cutting edge battery in place, THINK, in partnership with EnerDel, is well placed to further develop global business-to-business opportunities with its proprietary integrated electric drive-train, which is already being tested in Asia by the Japan Postal Service, and by Mazda as part of a Itochu Corporation-led sustainability project in Tsukuba, Japan.
THINK CEO, Richard Canny, said: “THINK’s adoption of Ener1’s battery technology is going to allow us to scale up much more quickly in Europe and also be ready to enter the US market later this year. The volume production of these batteries now underway at Ener1 opens the door for THINK to finally enter higher scale production, now that battery supply constraints are behind us. Not only does Lithium-ion offer all sorts of advantages at the customer level, it also opens up the potentially massive business-to-business market for us as well, which will result in significant volume expansion and international growth for THINK.”
Chris Neal, Director of Engineering at THINK, added: “Ener1’s Lithium-ion technology is a true market leader and an innovation in the EV sector. Thanks to their prismatic design, Ener1 batteries offer solutions that are lightweight, better packaged and smaller, yet with much greater available power and energy density than other technologies. Crucially, fast-charging becomes a possibility with EnerDel batteries, as proven in early tests done by THINK and Ener1, where the battery can be charged up to 80% of its capacity in just 15 minutes. The volume introduction of Lithium-ion is a big step forward for THINK and the EV industry as a whole.”
Ener1 Chairman and CEO, Charles Gassenheimer, who also serves as Chairman of the THINK board of directors, concluded: “The EnerDel THINK partnership combines a cutting-edge lithium-ion battery solution with the most sophisticated EV drive-train in the world, leading the industry with a road-ready electric vehicle solution available for purchase today.”
He added: “Our ancillary drivetrain business, stripping out THINK’s drivetrain technology and combining with the EnerDel solution, is particularly powerful, allowing an impressive time-to-market advantage for third parties. Ener1 continues to leverage its relationships, such as ITOCHU with the Japan Post and the new Ener1-Wanxiang joint venture, to create compelling new revenue opportunities for both companies.”
The latest generation THINK City is a purpose-built, all-electric car designed for urban environments. It can travel at highway speeds and cover 160 kilometers on a single charge (via any conventional household outlet), with zero local emissions. It is the world’s first EV to be granted certification with the European CE conformity mark and EU homologation requirements (M1 certificate). To achieve these exacting standards, the THINK City has successfully completed very thorough testing and validation procedures.
European production of the THINK City is underway in Finland with manufacturing partner Valmet Automotive, which also assembles the Boxster and Cayman models for Porsche AG. First customer deliveries are taking place across Europe in selected key EV markets such as The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Austria and others.
THINK also recently announced plans to establish a U.S. production facility during 2011 in Elkhart County, Indiana, and is working with Japanese partner Itochu on developing operations in Asia.