Make way for a new entrant in the greenest car on the road contest. The retooled Norwegian carmaker Think is partnering with two of Silicon Valley's top venture capital firms—Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers and RockPort Capital Partners—to put consumers behind the wheel of an all-electric car. The car would go 110 miles without a charge and cost less than $25,000 brand new by the end of 2009. Dubbed Think City, the two-seater revs up to about 65 miles per hour max, runs on sodium batteries and is 95 percent recyclable, according to Think.
Ray Lane, a Kleiner Perkins partner and also the Chairman of the new joint venture, says the Think City is designed as a "mass market" vehicle. "Our desire is to be selling 30- to 40- to 50,000 of these cars in a couple of years," he told reporters.
"The transportation industry is undergoing its largest transformation since Henry Ford built the Model T," he said. "Today we are witnessing a seminal event: the first highway-capable electric vehicle intended for mass production, representing a big step toward a zero emission transportation industry."
Company executives told reporters that test vehicles will be brought to the U.S. in coming months, but that eventually the cars would be manufactured in Southern California at a new Think North America plant. Ford Motor Company owned Think for five years, leasing the company's "smart cars" in the U.S. to a limited degree before selling the company to private investors in 2004. None of the major automakers are currently offering all-electric vehicles, although Nissan and Mitsubishi have announced plans to make them in the future.