Zero to 80 Percent in 15 minutes: New Benchmark for EV Fast-charging

THINK today announced that it will work with AeroVironment, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVAV) (AV), a leading developer and supplier of electric vehicle charging infrastructure, to pursue demonstration and commercial projects using AV’s level III fast-charge system and the THINK City electric vehicle. The projects will be designed to jump-start the development of fast-charge infrastructure in the US.

WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 26, 2010

The announcement came at a 15-minute news conference at the Washington Auto Show. Fifteen-minutes is the time it will take to charge a THINK City from completely depleted to 80 percent charged using an advanced fast-charge system, establishing a new benchmark for the rapidly developing electric vehicle industry.

“THINK and AeroVironment are setting a new standard for extremely quick re-charging – zero to 80 percent in just 15 minutes,” said THINK CEO Richard Canny. “This is a major leap forward for electric vehicles. The development and deployment of very-fast-charge stations will help speed the electrification of automobiles in the United States and globally.”

“For electric vehicles to achieve broad adoption as a practical alternative to gasoline-powered cars, safe, reliable and accessible charging infrastructure is necessary,” said Michael Bissonette, AV senior vice president and general manager of its Efficient Energy Systems business segment. “Our portfolio of true fast-charge systems, commercial opportunity charge stations, and overnight home charge stations will help drivers integrate electric vehicles, such as the THINK City, into their lives and realize the benefits of zero emission transportation.”

THINK also announced that it has chosen EnerDel, the Indiana-based lithium ion battery manufacturer, to be the exclusive battery supplier for THINK City electric vehicles sold in the U.S. through 2012. EnerDel also will supply at least 60 percent of the batteries for THINK City electric vehicles sold in Europe.

“EnerDel has developed an extremely energy-dense lithium ion battery for the THINK City,” said EnerDel President Rick Stanley. “This battery has been designed from the earliest stages of cell development to accommodate the surge of current required for a new standard of rapid charging.”

The AV level III fast-charge system employs a protocol developed by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). THINK and EnerDel have for several months been using TEPCO fast charging daily to quickly recharge development vehicles. This work has confirmed the suitability of the fast-charge technology and readiness for commercialization.

THINK City, to be sold in the United States beginning this year, will have a top speed of more than 70 miles per hour and a range of more than 100 miles per full charge. THINK City has an onboard AC charger that can be coupled with an economically priced 220-volt THINK home charging station to provide overnight charging for the vehicle. It can also be charged using 110-volt current on a regular household outlet. The fast-charge system will be a supplementary alternative for customers’ added sense of security and for fleets with daily mileage requirements exceeding the car’s range.

“Our experience with more than 1,500 vehicles in use in Europe is that customers using the vehicle for daily commutes and trips around town quickly become comfortable with THINK City’s range of more than 100 miles,” Canny said. “For them, the standard over-night charging is a very practical solution. Fast charging’s importance will be for high-use fleets.”

THINK recently announced plans for a North American manufacturing facility in Elkhart, Indiana, where the company will build the THINK City beginning early in 2011. The new facility will be in addition to THINK’s current manufacturing capability in Finland, where it has contracted with Valmet to build the THINK City.

THINK expects commercial fleet customers in the U.S. to be among the first users of the fast-charge system, but also anticipates that commercial enterprises – including shopping malls, convenience stores and parking garages – will quickly see the value in offering fast-charging services for their customers as a way to grow business and to demonstrate environmental responsibility.

Souce: Think

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