01-27-2010, 04:51 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
15 GOLF R
Think Fast! New EV Fast Charge Method Announced
Electric vehicle manufacturer Think will announce later today that it will join with AeroVironment, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVAV) to jump-start the fast-charge infrastructure in the United States.
The announcement will come at a 15-minute news conference at the Washington Auto Show.
Fifteen minutes is the time it will take to charge a Think City electric vehicle from completely depleted to 80% using an advanced fast-charge system, establishing what Think thinks is a new benchmark for the rapidly developing electric vehicle industry.
“This is a major leap forward for electric vehicles, according to Think CEO Richard Canny. “ The development and deployment of very-fast-charge stations will help speed the electrification of automobiles in the United States and globally.”
Think will also announce that it has chosen EnerDel, the Indiana-based lithium-ion battery manufacturer, to be the exclusive battery supplier for its City electric vehicles sold in the U.S. through 2012. EnerDel also will also supply at least 60% of the batteries for City electric vehicles sold in Europe.
The AeroVironment (AV) level III fast-charge system uses a protocol developed by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). Think and EnerDel have for several months been using TEPCO fast charging to recharge development vehicles. This work has confirmed the suitability of the fast-charge technology and readiness for commercialization, according to insiders.
AV is a defense contractor that provides battery operated, unmanned spy drones to the U.S. military.
The Think City electric vehicle will be sold in the United States later this year. City will have a top speed of more than 70 miles per hour, and a range of more than 100 miles per full charge, according to insiders.
City will come with an onboard AC charger that can be linked to an “economically priced” 220-volt home charging station to provide overnight charging for the vehicle. It can also be charged using 110-volt current on a regular household outlet.
The fast-charge system is an option for customers’ and for fleets with daily mileage requirements exceeding the car’s range.
“Our experience with more than 1,500 vehicles in use in Europe is that customers using the vehicle for daily commutes and trips around town quickly become comfortable with City’s range of more than 100 miles,” Canny said. “For them, the standard over-night charging is a very practical solution. Fast charging’s importance will be for high-use fleets.”
Think recently announced plans for a North American manufacturing facility in Elkhart, Indiana, where the company will build the City beginning early in 2011. The new facility will be in addition to Think’s current manufacturing capability in Finland, where it has contracted with Valmet to build the City.
Canny expects commercial fleet customers in the U.S. to be among the first users of the fast-charge system, but also anticipates that commercial enterprises – including shopping malls, convenience stores and parking garages – will see the value in offering fast-charging services for customers as a way to increase business and to demonstrate environmental responsibility.
Think has established a U.S. subsidiary – Think North America, as a stand-alone business that will include manufacturing, product development, sales and distribution. The company has an application before the U.S. Energy Department under the $25-billion Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing loan program designed to spur development of more fuel-efficient vehicles, including pure electric and hybrid electric vehicles.