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Electric Car for the Masses to be Made in Southern California

  • Norway's Think Global will begin selling its inexpensive, eco-friendly vehicles in the U.S. next year
    By Ken Bensinger
    Los Angeles Times, April 22, 2008
    Straight to the Source

Norwegian automaker Think Global said Monday it planned to sell low-priced electric cars to the masses and will introduce its first models in the U.S. by the end of next year.

The battery-powered Think City will be able to travel up to 110 miles on a single charge, with a top speed of about 65 mph, the company said. It will be priced below $25,000.

Oslo-based Think said venture capital firms RockPort Capital Partners and Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers had made investments to fund its entry into the U.S. under the auspices of Think North America.

"This is not a toy," said Wilber James, RockPort managing partner. "This is a serious car that we expect to sell."

Think North America is likely to be based in Southern California, the investors said, and the cars it sells here will be assembled locally. The venture investors will own half of Think North America. In March, General Electric Co. invested $4 million in Think Global.

Although technology for electric cars has been advancing -- and consumer interest has been rising amid growing concern over gasoline prices and greenhouse gases -- few vehicles have come to market. Last month, San Carlos, Calif.-based Tesla Motors began production of its Roadster, an electric vehicle that costs $100,000.

The Think City "is a mass-market vehicle," said Kleiner managing partner Ray Lane, dismissing comparisons to the Roadster. Tesla's car is being produced in relatively small numbers, with roughly 300 expected by the end of this year. "Our desire is to be selling 30-40-50,000 of these cars in a couple of years."
Full Story: http://www.latimes.com/news/science/environment/la-fi-think22apr22,1,4269330.story

 

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KateMucci
post Apr 28 2008, 07:14 PM



All of this talk about "electric cars" sounds good, but nobody's thinking about where the batteries come from - or where they end up!
Think of the toxic waste from the billions of batteries used in everything from toys to flashlights. Where do they end up? The landfills.

I recently read an article by Chris Demorro in Hidden Dragon Politics... this should be considered long before getting too excited about battery-driven cars.


"As already noted, the Prius is partly driven by a battery which contains nickel. The nickel is mined and smelted at a plant in Sudbury, Ontario. This plant has caused so much environmental damage to the surrounding environment that NASA has used the �dead zone� around the plant to test moon rovers. The area around the plant is devoid of any life for miles.
The plant is the source of all the nickel found in a Prius� battery and Toyota purchases 1,000 tons annually. Dubbed the Superstack, the plague-factory has spread sulfur dioxide across northern Ontario, becoming every environmentalist�s nightmare.

�The acid rain around Sudbury was so bad it destroyed all the plants and the soil slid down off the hillside,?? said Canadian Greenpeace energy-coordinator David Martin during an interview with Mail, a British-based newspaper.

All of this would be bad enough in and of itself; however, the journey to make a hybrid doesn�t end there. The nickel produced by this disastrous plant is shipped via massive container ship to the largest nickel refinery in Europe. From there, the nickel hops over to China to produce �nickel foam.� From there, it goes to Japan. Finally, the completed batteries are shipped to the United States, finalizing the around-the-world trip required to produce a single Prius battery. Are these not sounding less and less like environmentally sound cars and more like a farce?"

If someone could tell us where the batteries for these other electric cars are coming from, I would love to know!


maryfairy
post Apr 28 2008, 08:53 PM


I was all set to buy one,not anymore-I'd love to know too!

Bek
post Apr 28 2008, 09:46 PM


What about the Air Car? I've heard it's going to sell in India this year for around $2,500 but America has to wait until 2010 for an "air car" that will cost over $17,000.
And why can't we get cars with better gas mileage, when there were cars on the road back in the 1980s -- like the Honda Civic CRX HF (High Fuel economy) -- getting close to 60 mpg? Why is the government telling us the economy can't handle higher mandatory standards when everyone I know wants a cheap, clean/green vehicle, and we had the technology decades ago?
Yeah I would love to get more info & updates on this subject too.

Brooks
post Apr 28 2008, 10:33 PM


To Kate Mucci: It is true that electric cars are no panacea to our global energy crisis. However, if you had done a little more research you would have found that the information that you conveniently cut-and-pasted into your comment has long been discredited.

Take a look at:
http://www.slate.com/id/2186786/pagenum/all/

And: http://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/200711/mrgreen_mailbag.asp

And: http://www.thecarconnection.com/Auto_News/...196.A12220.html

SergeiRostov
post Apr 28 2008, 10:44 PM


QUOTE (KateMucci @ Apr 28 2008, 05:14 PM) *
All of this talk about "electric cars" sounds good, but nobody's thinking about where the batteries come from - or where they end up!
Think of the toxic waste from the billions of batteries used in everything from toys to flashlights. Where do they end up? The landfills.

I recently read an article by Chris Demorro in Hidden Dragon Politics... this should be considered long before getting too excited about battery-driven cars.


"As already noted, the Prius is partly driven by a battery which contains nickel. The nickel is mined and smelted at a plant in Sudbury, Ontario. This plant has caused so much environmental damage to the surrounding environment that NASA has used the �dead zone� around the plant to test moon rovers. The area around the plant is devoid of any life for miles.
The plant is the source of all the nickel found in a Prius� battery and Toyota purchases 1,000 tons annually. Dubbed the Superstack, the plague-factory has spread sulfur dioxide across northern Ontario, becoming every environmentalist�s nightmare.

�The acid rain around Sudbury was so bad it destroyed all the plants and the soil slid down off the hillside,?? said Canadian Greenpeace energy-coordinator David Martin during an interview with Mail, a British-based newspaper.

All of this would be bad enough in and of itself; however, the journey to make a hybrid doesn�t end there. The nickel produced by this disastrous plant is shipped via massive container ship to the largest nickel refinery in Europe. From there, the nickel hops over to China to produce �nickel foam.� From there, it goes to Japan. Finally, the completed batteries are shipped to the United States, finalizing the around-the-world trip required to produce a single Prius battery. Are these not sounding less and less like environmentally sound cars and more like a farce?"

If someone could tell us where the batteries for these other electric cars are coming from, I would love to know!



The article cited above is a phony. It's not an actual news article, but an opinion piece from a college newspaper. One clue is the "moon rover" part - think about it: NASA hasn't tested any in over 30 years, and why would they test highly classfied equipment in an open area outside of the US?

This is actually a part of a larger piece which purports to "prove" that a Hummer is better for the enviromment than a Prius.

There's some more debunking of it in the comments where it was posted on the HD site.

(I also see there are more links in another reply to this smile.gif)

That being said, in any case the newest gen of electric vehicle batteries are not nickel-based at all, but are olivine and aluminum.


smartdriver
post Apr 28 2008, 10:46 PM


I was not able to find where the batteries are made, and agree that a full accounting of any product is important. It is also very difficult. A quick internet search found a strong rebuttal of the above mentioned dust-to-dust report http://www.denialism.com/labels/George%20Will.html, and a quick review of the report, linked through the previous site, reveals it's unscientific nature. It may or may not have some truth, but the report doesn't help you find it. A few reality checks are necessary too. Moon rovers have not been tested in a long time, Sudbury is much nicer now. All cars involve a lot of shipping, walk or ride your bike.

akmakdoc
post Apr 28 2008, 11:33 PM


I recently made some fun of a poster on the financial blog "seeking alpha" who made a suspect claim that Hummers were "ultimately" more energy efficient (and thus, more environmentally sound) than hybrid cars like the Prius.

The first thing I made fun of was the fact that he started out saying that "he had read somewhere" that the Humvee was better than a Prius in its overall eco-impact -- but never cited the source (I mean, not even roughly, as in "a few issues back in Scientific American" or "last year in Newsweek"). Although I was pretty sure the claim was completely idiotic, I didn't realize until now where his "information" actually came from. Thank you for the link to Denialism.com!!

On YouTube I read a similar type of post where it was claimed that an incandescent light was ultimately less energy-hogging than a CF (really!) because of the greater energy needed to produce it(!!). tongue.gif


In the Youtube incident I questioned the person about where they got this information, but they were never able to give any source. Fortunately in that case, however, I was able to at least get a concession that they knew of no concrete evidence supporting this rather suspect idea.

One sees the same attempt at discrediting solar or wind power vs. nuclear often.

So it might interest those to read the online version of Mother Jones on its recent article on nuclear power called "The Nuclear Option." This article isn't perfect by any means, and I think some of the comparisons of cost are rather suspect, but if you check the excerpt below, you'll see it has gems of information that the pro-nukers would prefer us not to know about. Anytime one of them talks about France getting "80% of its energy" from nuclear, it would at least be appropriate that they also mention the nuclear dumping in France that takes place (see excerpt below).

For the whole article go here:

http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/20...ear-option.html

Here is the excerpt:

But its reprocessing operations, as with Britain's notoriously leaky site at Sellafield, have racked up such a roster of problems that in the United States they'd be shut down as gross violators of the Clean Water Act. Every year Areva, the French conglomerate that handles reprocessing, dumps so much radioactive liquid into the Channel that, says Lochbaum of the Union of Concerned Scientists, "there are certain beaches where the effluent pipe is where you can get a suntan at night. ohmy.gif

"I'm not going to say the French are 'no blood, no foul,'" Lochbaum told me, "but they're not quite as concerned about effluents as we are. They tend to believe more in 'the solution to pollution is dilution.'" They are, however, in violation of European Union pollution regulations?largely because the waste contains the dangerous isotope technetium, which so far no one has found a way to remove.

OrganicRed
post Apr 28 2008, 11:35 PM


QUOTE (KateMucci @ Apr 28 2008, 09:14 PM) *
All of this talk about "electric cars" sounds good, but nobody's thinking about where the batteries come from - or where they end up!
Think of the toxic waste from the billions of batteries used in everything from toys to flashlights. Where do they end up? The landfills.

I recently read an article by Chris Demorro in Hidden Dragon Politics... this should be considered long before getting too excited about battery-driven cars. .....


Great info! I also love it when a forum member posts the reference information - helps to cut back on urban legends : ) Anyway, I found what I believe to be the original posting of Demorro's article at Central Connecticut State University: http://clubs.ccsu.edu/recorder/editorial/p....asp?NewsID=188

I'm still looking for the best green alternative to buy when my current lease is up in 16 months. Hopefully there will be an alternative to batteries.

ladycat
post Apr 29 2008, 01:58 AM


Aren't batteries recyclable?


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JustPassinThru
post Apr 29 2008, 10:21 AM


I have a 1996 Solectria Force. 80 MPH for 50 miles. Uses lead batteries. Lead auto batteries are the most recycled item in world-99+%. When they die I will update to latest more efficient and eco friendly batts. In 1906 land world speed record was set by electric car. Zap X is also coming.

B. Dahse
post Apr 29 2008, 11:38 AM


I'm sooooo tired of seeing references to the article comparing Hummers to the Prius. An article written commenting on a study done by a GM-supported organization that trashes nickel-containing hybrids in favor of U.S.-made gas guzzlers? What a surprise! There's probably more nickel added to harden the drive components in the Hummer than you'll find in the Prius battery pack.
And to comment on the sodium (or soon the A123 nano-lithium batteries) in the Think City as if they were the same as NiMH batteries? That's just stupid. I own a Prius I recycled from a scrapyard in 2002. Great car, great mileage, trouble free. Learn something about fixing cars and you can save the Earth lots of pain!
I built my first hybrid electric from "scratch" in 1992. It used recycled Nickel-iron Edison cells from 1935. Yes, even nickel is recyclable. Lead acid cells are a proven, recyclable, fairly cheap option, but they suffer from range and weight issues.
My 1971 Simca 1204 got 45 mpg even in the Winter. One of the big reasons cars today don't get teriffic gas mileage when compared to the early 70's subcompacts is pollution controls. Would you prefer dirtier air or just better mileage?
My A123 nano-lithium (DeWalt 36-volt power tool battery) powered, 3-wheeled, hybrid human-electric trike definitely outperforms the Prius in many ways but not when it's snowing! My wife says, "If you don't like cars, don't drive them".
To see more details about the trike or recycled Prius, try our website at http://www.geopathfinder.com/9659

bullockstroy
post Apr 29 2008, 11:51 AM


Here's another good article debunking the Hummer vs. Prius myth - also compares the precise amounts of energy consumed by hybrids vs. electric cars.

http://www.straightdope.com/columns/080404.html

Noel
post May 4 2008, 10:04 AM


I am reminded that it's been over 100 years now since the carbeurator was invented for the internal combustion engine. I find it difficult to understand why it has not been improved upon in all that time. Our (gasoline powered) vehicles get worse mileage than they did when first invented.

B. Dahse
post Today, 05:39 PM


Yes Noel, the carburetor, the Otto engine (4-stroke gas), and Diesel engines are indeed old technology, as are the elctric motors that will replace them. But in case you hadn't noticed, the carb has been replaced by piezo-electric fuel injectors, usually one per cylinder. They fire fuel like your ink-jet printer fires ink. They do it very precisely, under computer control, in combination with variable valve timing, to make combustion as efficient and pollution-free as possible. And still we get excessive noise, atmospheric carbon build-up, noxious smog, and lousy gas mileage. The problem is in the inherent dirtiness and inefficiency of combustion. You can put whatever crutch you want on it but it's still pretty lame! Now that nano-particle batteries have solved the weight, toxicity, and range issues of electric vehicles, the sole remaining issue is cost. If "Think" can produce something with lithium cells for under $25k, that's great. But I can't afford it. Back in 2002 when I wanted a "Think City", with lead-acid batteries at that time, the cost was under $20k. But Ford apparently bought the design and scrapped the exportinng to America. So I found a dead 2001 Prius to resurrect. Recycling ANY fuel-efficient car saves more energy, in the BIG picture, than buying the most fuel-efficient models new. Even GM may soon (2010) have a vehicle out there (the "Volt") that's efficient and fast, and long-ranging, but who will be able to afford it? The same folks who are now buying Hummers, Lexus Hybrids, and gasoline at ANY cost.