Think EV comes to North America
Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and RockPort Capital Partners have formed a joint venture with Norwegian electric car maker Think Global to bring their highway-speed, crash-tested car to the U.S. market in 2009. Kleiner Perkins managing partner Ray Lane, who is chairman of the new Think North America, called the creation of the joint venture and plans to mass-manufacture an electric car in the United States a “seminal event” along the way to zero-emission transportation. “The transportation industry is undergoing its largest transformation since Henry Ford built the Model T,” said Lane.
The Think City model is 95 per cent recyclable and reaches a top speed of 65 miles (100 kilometres) an hour. It can also drive up to 110 miles (180 kilometres) on a single charge, though I’m guessing that varies depending on the battery technology used. Think Global is working with two battery technologies: On the lithium-ion side, the car can use a nanophosphateTM system produced by A123, or a lithium manganese system from Enerdel; another option is a nickel-sodium chloride “Zebra” battery from MES DEA SA.
This announcement merely adds momentum to an exciting trend. The fact that Kleiners and RockPort are getting behind this and directly steering the new Think company is yet another sign that EVs aren’t just a passing fad. A number of startups and some of the big automakers are in a race to get the first mass-market electric vehicle to market over the next year or two. This competition is healthy, and will continue to drive the kind of battery innovation we need to truly see EV vehicles reach mass appeal.
Me, I drive a little 1997 Honda Civic hatchback. My next car will be electric — either all or plug-in. I can’t wait until that purchase day comes.