Green Update–>THINK City, Ford C-Max, Chevy Volt and VW Plug-In Golf


Some people, and car companies, never know when to quit. We told you about the THINK City eight months ago and voiced some skepticism. Now, it seems the company has gotten a fresh infusion of cash—some $40 million from investors—and is setting up a U.S. subsidiary to make and sell its new City EV on a new premise.

The idea is to get the price down to an affordable level by making a shorter-range vehicle. In a survey, about half the participants said they could accept a car with a 70-80 mile range for a price reduction of $5,000. (Yet 55 percent said they would pay an extra $5,000 for a car with a 150-to-160-mile range! You pays your money and takes your choice.)

The City is coming to the U.S. later this year and presently has a range of 100 miles per charge. So they may well offer different battery sizes and prices. The story and press release are here.

Ford C-MAXFord is partnering with the Spanish government to produce hybrid versions of its C-MAX compact minivan (a five-seater) that will come online in Europe by 2013. A larger (seven-seat) EcoBoost-powered C-MAX will come to the U.S. late next year.

Chevrolet VoltBoth vans will be built at the Ford plant in Valencia, Spain, and will be made in full hybrid and plug-in versions. Other Ford electric vehicles include the Transit Connect van, coming in 2011, and the Focus electric car in 2012.

Chevy is crowing to Autoweek that the Volt is “99 percent ready” to launch. Engineers have been driving the car in high-traffic Los Angeles and the mountains, pushing it in severe conditions, and so far, everything seems to work.

Volt boss Larry Nitz said, “This is a very complicated vehicle with a lot of computers that talk to each other.” Yet, the Volt will feel like an electric car at all times, even when the gasoline engine kicks on, which most people will not even notice, said Nitz.

VW Golf Blue E-MotionNever to be outdone by upstart Americans, VW showed its plug-in Golf—with a plug-in Jetta to follow—for sale in Germany and North America in 2013. But first, to one-up itself, the company will introduce “the Up Blue-E-Motion, a car described by [VW Chairman] Winterkorn as a ‘city specialist’ and previewed in concept form at last year’s Frankfurt motor show.”

Where does Volkswagen come up with these insane names? They are almost as goofy as Nissan’s.

Let us know what you think about THINK’s idea of making different battery sizes (and ranges and prices) available to buyers.


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