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Norwegian electric cars to make UK return

THINK, the Norwegian electric car maker is to re-launch its two-seater city car in the UK at the end of the year.

Richard Blundell, managing director of THINK UK said the cars, unlike others available, will be fully homologated and have European NCAP safety ratings.

The first vehicles will go on sale in Norway in three months time while right-hand-drive models will arrive in Britain at the end of the year, followed by other European markets in 2009.

THINK was bought by Ford in the 1990s but sold back into private ownership in 2002 after failing to break into the market.

Blundell said the latest model, the fifth generation THINK, is a newly-developed model powered by a choice of sodium or lithium batteries which can travel up to 120 miles in one charge.

It has a top speed of 65mph and can accelerate from 0-30mph in around six seconds. The car has been developed with the help of engineers from Porsche Consulting.

Blundell said prices would be around £14,000 while batteries will be leased at a cost of £100 a month.

He said: “The batteries have a finite lifespan and would be very costly to replace so the leasing element takes that on-cost out of the equation.”

As for running costs, Blundell said that by using off-peak battery charging it would be as little as £50 per 10,000 miles and at peak times £120 per 10,000 miles.

THINK has already attracted investment from venture capital companies in the United States and at the Geneva Motor Show Blundell announced a further $4 million (£2 million) investment from GE.

He added that the company was talking to potential distributors for the UK and was also in discussion with utility companies regarding on-street charging facilities.

Blundell said: “The car meets safety requirements of both Europe and the US, is equipped with ABS brakes, airbags and three-point safety belts with pre-tensioners.”

The car is also designed to be recycled, while the manufacturing process uses pre-coloured plastic body panels – so no press or paintshop at its Oslo factory.

Blundell added that a four-door, four-seat model, shown in concept form at Geneva would go into production in 2011.

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