Th!ink EV Finds a Sugar Daddy for US, European Expansion
Having failed to go it alone, small electric vehicle (EV) companies are finally realizing that they need large, experienced partners to help with supply chains, mass production and distribution. Th!nk Global (previously and more accurately known as Th!nk Nordic) builds and sells tiny EVs in Norway. At the Cleantech Forum in San Fran, Chairman Jan-Olaf Willums dropped hints that Th!nk will join with a large automaker to build a larger EV, and extend their marketing to Europe and the US. Ford Motors is a possible partner. Ford bought Th!nk in 1999, developing much of Th!nk's practical technology, but sold out in 2003. As reported by greentechmedia.com , Willums appears realistic about Th!nk's potential. Asked by an interested Cleantech attendee if the Th!nk could be driven from Arizona to California, Willums admitted, "I think you are typically a noncustomer for us."
I wonder how tough it would be for a gearhead to make one of these into a Chevy Volt? For example, go to Lowe's and pick up an 8KW generator with electric start, install generator and the charger into the trunk. Then make up a little circuit to start/stop the generator when needed. Add a fuel gauge to the dash and go. Sounds like a good college project eh?
Buying a bunch of parts and bolting them together is simple. Designing the software and control systems to handle charging, discharging, motor speed, etc. is the hard part, which is why GM made a deal with Toyota to take a peek at their control software.
I am assuming that the generator could be connected to the charging port of the car without modifying any original equipment, which may not be possible. My idea for charging is very simple too; such as when the "please charge me" light comes on, start and run the generator for 20 minutes. The simple machine is better, as long as it works.
We had these vehicles at Emory University. They were absolutely wretched and were really worthless for anything but very slow in-town commuting. You would be far better off getting a golf kart or a maxiscoot than using one of these.