What is it?
The Think City is primarily a two-seater, urban, electric vehicle (bigger than a Smart FourTwo, smaller than a VW Polo). It neatly bridges the gap between the horrible and basic G-Wiz and the ludicrously expensive Tesla.
Don’t be fooled by its size, though: it is a proper car, properly proportioned with a good size cargo area (there are plans afoot to install a rear seat bench, making it a true four-seater).
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the City, but it is the first outing since they replaced the bank of sodium batteries with the much more efficient lithium-ion ones. The biggest impact these power cells will have is on recharging times – six to eight hours plugged straight into the mains, or up to 80 per cent charge in less than 15 minutes by using a specially-designed, high-speed charger.
Depending on how it is driven a 100-miles range isn’t out of the question before you start looking for a mains socket.
On tap power from the electric motor is immediate, with a 0-60mph time of 12 seconds. Top speed, should you ever want to take it on the motorway, is 70mph.
What’s it like?
It is funky looking, in a futuristic, electric vehicle, type of way. The matt-finished, primary-coloured, moulded plastic body panels and doey-eyed headlights all add to its charm and will undoubtedly appeal to a much wider audience than the City’s present rivals.
Turn the ignition key and there is total silence. The only sign anything is happening is that the dashboard lights up, showing the status of the batteries. The auto selector gives the usual options of either drive, neutral or reverse, plus a further option of ‘E’ for greater economy from the regenerative drive system. After that, it is simply a matter of pointing it in the right direction.
At one stage Ford was one of Think's backers, ploughing a small fortune into the company. That money hasn’t been completely wasted as it uses many parts from the Fiesta, the most obvious being the switchgear and steering wheel. Also, under the City’s tough plastic shell, lies the Fiesta suspension and ABS system. It has driver and passenger airbags, too.
With a light body, the battery unit positioned low to the centre of gravity and the ‘borrowed’ suspension, the City actually handles better than some other cars in the A-segment bracket. It feels tight in the corners and doesn’t baulk when asked to traverse any road impurities.
Should I buy one?
Without doubt, the City is better looking and more useful than many of its combustion engine counterparts.
The plan is for it to go on sale in the UK towards the end of this year, but here’s the rub; where it is currently being sold, mostly in the Scandinavian countries, it comes with a price tag equivalent to that of about £19,000, so it isn’t particularly cheap when you consider what else you could buy for the same money.
That said, it only costs about 2p per mile to run, it is exempt from the congestion charge and road tax licence charge, virtually maintenance free as it never needs a service and you’ll never be a slave to fuel pumps ever again.