31 May 2011

Why the Th!nk is a great car

The Think City electric car submerged in 5% saline solution while the car is running
We had some heavy rains in parts of the state recently.  There is always a report of someone driving into deep water, getting water sucked into the cylinders, and breaking a connecting rod.  Well, you should never drive into deep water but it is nice to know that it won't break anything in the Th!nk.  They tested it.  400 volts?  No problem.  But seriously, don't try this in any car.
Quoting from Th!nk's US web site: "THINK City has been put through extensive testing and validation, including hundreds of computer simulations, over 50 sled tests and more than 20 full-vehicle crash tests. Comprehensive electrical testing and validation have also been conducted over extended periods, including deep-water wading and total submergence in salt water with all electrical systems activated."

There is also lots of little stuff I like.

The air conditioning is powerful.  We had 98 degrees F today (37 C) and we were very comfortable in the Think EV without turning up the AC all the way.

The horn is righteously loud, and has two tones.  (I believe the musical interval produced by the horns is a fifth.)  No one ignores the Th!nk when it honks at them.  Not your typical small car "beep".

The settings of the dash board controls can all be distinguished by feel, you do not have to take your eyes off the road to check where the fan is, if the AC is on, etc.  The controls on the Mini E mostly required a glance to figure out where they were set, which I find to be a safety concern.

The 12 volt outlet works when the car is turned off, making it easy to slow-charge the 12 volt accessory battery without jumper cables.  This should never be needed, but I heard a story on the radio just last weekend where a Prius owner needed to charge his 12 volt battery and could not even find it.  Most Japanese cars do not keep the 12 volt outlet active when the car is off.  If I recall, the Mini E did not either.

The center of gravity is very low since the batteries are under the seats.  It will take corners very fast with out a complaint.  The handling is very good in my humble opinion.  And although it is not nearly as fast as the Mini E, everyone I take for a drive comments on the great acceleration.

I like the recirculate button since it will stay on as long as I want it on.  This was one of the MOST annoying things about the Mini E.  We were in traffic today with some smoky cars.  I turned on the air recirculation so we did not have to smell them.  My car pool coworker said, "This car does not Stink, this car is a Think!"  (Not bad for some one who's first language is not English.)  Of course you should not leave the recirculate on forever, fresh air is good when available.

Absolutely reliable charging.  I have charged the Th!nk dozens of times and I have never had to restart charging or come back to find the car stopped charging before the battery was at 100%.  I don't know about other Mini E drivers, but I probably had to try again one out of five times when charging at 120 volts in the Mini E.  And of course the problems charging the Mini E at 245 volts and above were very widespread.  (To be fair, I have not setup for 240 volt charging with the Th!nk yet.  And I am sure BMW will not make that mistake again.)

I like other mundane stuff like huge cargo space (the Mini E had very little), excellent rear visibility such as you have never seen, long life no rust no dent no scratch plastic body panels (with the "Blue Suede Shoes" look), essentially no maintenance (well, I still need to clean the windows sometimes), 2.1 cents per mile to charge the battery compared to gasoline costs that can be ten times higher, no support to OPEC but support to other American Energy Workers like coal miners or nuclear workers or hydro/wind/solar whatever.  I like that it is a car assembled in America with an American Made battery from an American owned company, OK I will stop now.

I am loving it, can you tell?

Ah, but my wife called the Th!nk EV "the ersatz 458" recently.  She still misses the Mini E.  So do I.  But we don't miss the lease payments!!

One more thing.  The Th!nk has all the gauges you need and nothing more.  No unreliable "miles remaining" estimate that only makes people nervous.  No battery temperature, just a better quality battery and cooling system than the Mini E had.  Yeah yeah, I can hear some of you saying that more information is better.  Maybe not when you are driving.  How did that song go?  "Keep your eyes on the road and your hands upon the wheel!  The future's uncertain and the end is always near."

OK, I promise to never quote Jim Morrison again.  I promise.


  1. what is the price on that car? and do you live in USA?

    1. Erick

      Yes, I live in the USA. Prices are posted on the THINK web site:

      Word is that some dealers (Chicago for example) sell at a discount.

  2. Hi Jim, new to your blog - I live in Indiana and have a Think I purchased Sept. 2011 that I'm also in love with. I'm glad to hear you love yours too.

  3. Hi Dolly, did you buy yours through a dealer or from the factory like I did? -Jim McL

  4. I ordered through a factory rep and it was delivered to a dealer in Indianapolis where I live. I've become concerned with the recent stories about Think USA being 'shut down' and no word on if/when it will reopen/begin production...warranty, parts, etc. But with just over 8K miles and not a whisper of a problem, there's no immediate concern.

  5. Dolly

    What reports have you heard about Think USA being "Shut down"? Last I heard it was bought by Boris Zingarevich and engineering was transferred to Germany.

    With the Ford dealers in Norway still supporting the older fourth generation cars from over ten years ago, I cannot imagine there will be problems getting parts for the newer fifth generation that was produced in larger numbers.

    Jim McL