Think City – Click above for high-res image gallery

How long should it take to charge an electric vehicle? At the Washington Auto Show. today, Think announced a partnership with AeroVironment to promote a fast-charging infrastructure (based on Level 3, or 440V, charging) which can power a Think City's battery pack from zero to 80 percent full in just 15 minutes. To emphasize the short time it would take to charge a Think using this method, Think CEO Richard Canny set a timer for 15 minutes during the press conference and called it a "major leap forward for electric vehicles." Think has been testing the Level 3 system (developed, in part, by Tokyo Electric Power Company, TEPCO) recently with its development vehicles and says that, "This work has confirmed the suitability of the fast-charge technology and readiness for commercialization."

Also, while we knew that EnerDel would supply the batteries for the City (full details here), Think announced today that only EnerDel packs would be used in the EV in the U.S. through 2012. Over in Europe, EnerDel will provide packs for at least 60 percent of the City EVs there. More details after the jump.


Related GalleryDC 2010: Think City


PRESS RELEASE

Zero to 80 Percent in 15 minutes: New Benchmark for EV Fast-charging
THINK, AeroVironment to Pursue Projects to Promote Fast-charging Infrastructure
EnerDel to be Exclusive Battery Supplier for THINK City in the U.S.

WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 26, 2010 – Electric vehicle manufacturer THINK today announced that it will work with AeroVironment, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVAV) (AV), a leading developer and supplier of electric vehicle charging infrastructure, to pursue demonstration and commercial projects using AV's level III fast-charge system and the THINK City electric vehicle. The projects will be designed to jump-start the development of fast-charge infrastructure in the United States.

The announcement came at a 15-minute news conference at the Washington Auto Show. Fifteen-minutes is the time it will take to charge a THINK City from completely depleted to 80 percent charged using an advanced fast-charge system, establishing a new benchmark for the rapidly developing electric vehicle industry.

"THINK and AeroVironment are setting a new standard for extremely quick re-charging – zero to 80 percent in just 15 minutes," said THINK CEO Richard Canny. "This is a major leap forward for electric vehicles. The development and deployment of very-fast-charge stations will help speed the electrification of automobiles in the United States and globally."

"For electric vehicles to achieve broad adoption as a practical alternative to gasoline-powered cars, safe, reliable and accessible charging infrastructure is necessary," said Michael Bissonette, AV senior vice president and general manager of its Efficient Energy Systems business segment. "Our portfolio of true fast-charge systems, commercial opportunity charge stations, and overnight home charge stations will help drivers integrate electric vehicles, such as the THINK City, into their lives and realize the benefits of zero emission transportation."

THINK also announced that it has chosen EnerDel, the Indiana-based lithium ion battery manufacturer, to be the exclusive battery supplier for THINK City electric vehicles sold in the U.S. through 2012. EnerDel also will supply at least 60 percent of the batteries for THINK City electric vehicles sold in Europe.
"EnerDel has developed an extremely energy-dense lithium ion battery for the THINK City," said EnerDel President Rick Stanley. "This battery has been designed from the earliest stages of cell development to accommodate the surge of current required for a new standard of rapid charging."

The AV level III fast-charge system employs a protocol developed by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). THINK and EnerDel have for several months been using TEPCO fast charging daily to quickly recharge development vehicles. This work has confirmed the suitability of the fast-charge technology and readiness for commercialization.

THINK City, to be sold in the United States beginning this year, will have a top speed of more than 70 miles per hour and a range of more than 100 miles per full charge. THINK City has an onboard AC charger that can be coupled with an economically priced 220-volt THINK 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 will be a supplementary alternative for customers' added sense of security 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 THINK 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 THINK 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 THINK City.

THINK 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 quickly see the value in offering fast-charging services for their customers as a way to grow business and to demonstrate environmental responsibility.

About THINK:
THINK is a pioneer in electric vehicles and a leader in electric vehicle technology, developed and proven over 19 years. It is one of the few companies that are currently producing highway-ready, fully electric vehicles for sale – the THINK City. THINK is also a leader in electric drive-system technology, and was the first to offer a modular and flexible EV drive-train solution in the business-to-business sector. With its Scandinavian origins and sustainability mindset, THINK is one of the most carbon efficient car companies in the world.

THINK has established a U.S. subsidiary – THINK North America, a stand-alone business that will include manufacturing, product development, sales and distribution. The company has an active 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. More information about THINK is available at www.thinkev.com.

About AeroVironment, Inc. (AV)
Building on a history of technological innovation, AV designs, develops, produces, and supports an advanced portfolio of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and efficient electric energy systems. Agencies of the U.S. Department of Defense and allied military services use the company's battery-powered, hand-launched UAS to provide situational awareness to tactical operating units through real-time, airborne reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition. AV's clean transportation solutions include power cycling and test systems and industrial electric vehicle charging systems for commercial and institutional customers, as well as EV home chargers and EV fast chargers for consumers. More information about AV is available at www.avinc.com.

About EnerDel:
EnerDel, a subsidiary of Ener1, Inc. (Nasdaq: HEV), develops and manufactures compact, high performance lithium-ion batteries to power the next generation of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and pure electric vehicles. Led by an experienced team of engineers and energy system experts, the company is building proprietary innovations based on technology originally pioneered at the Argonne National Laboratory.

EnerDel produces its batteries at its state-of-the-art facilities in Indianapolis, Indiana, and is expecting to be the first company to mass-produce a cost-competitive lithium-ion battery for hybrid and electric vehicles. In addition to the automobile market, applications for EnerDel lithium-ion battery technology include medical, military, aerospace, electric utility and other growing markets
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Our travel and lodging for this media event were provided by the Auto Alliance.