Think CityEnlarge Photo
How fast, how far, and how long? These are the three most important questions asked of any electric car coming to market.
Just like their gasoline counterparts, drivers want to know their first electric car won't leave them foundering at the lights, stranded on the freeway, or taking forever to recharge.
For the number of small electric cars joining the newly forming A segment market for electric city runabouts, all three questions need impressive answers at a cost far below that of the larger, more suburban EVs, like the 2011 Nissan Leaf.
Enter the 2012 Think City EV.
Charging Port: Think City.Enlarge Photo
However, while the car may be able to achieve a 100 mile range and has better performance than previous models, is it up to par with other cars on the market?
According to Green Car Advisor's John O'Dell, the new battery pack gives the car a much-needed boost in power and makes the car more practical to use in everyday situations.
But O'Dell still questioned the car's acceleration and handling, pointing out that the car struggled to reach its top speed of 60 mph and wheezed to 50 mph in just under 16 seconds.
While 0-30 happens in around five seconds, the Think City EV is fine for surface street commuting, but seems underpowered at highway speeds. And with a top speed of just 68mph, it's certainly going to prove interesting on the freeway.
Initially founded in 1991, Think is one of the older electric car companies still trading today, but its history is anything but simple.
Purchased by Ford in 1999, before returning to European ownership in 2003, the company has faced financial woes, delays in production and near-misses with the great junkyard in the sky. As recently as 2008, the company future looked bleak when the company suspended all vehicle production and laid off 50% of its staff.
Now rejuvenated, and keen to bring the car to market in New York City, Los Angeles, CA and Portland, OR, Think has its sights set on similarly sized EVs, like the diminutive Smart ForTwo Electric Drive and the REVA NXR, which is due some time before 2013.
Think City electric vehicleEnlarge Photo
Instead of the space-age touch-screens of the 2011 Nissan leaf and 2011 Chevy Volt, the Think retains a simple design with functional but frugal choices for instrumentation. In all honesty, that's all a city car needs - but one would expect a reduced price as a consequence when compared to other cars on the market.
While the U.S. price hasn't been set, early indications peg it at $28,000 before state and federal incentives. At that price, consumers will have to think long and hard about handing over money for the little electric runabout from Norway when there are faster, larger and more luxurious electric cars now available for a little more.
Five years ago, a car like this would have been snatched up by consumers worldwide. But now the big boys are out to play this car appears overpriced and under-specced. And that's the problem facing Think and every other small size EV company worldwide.