Finally! Norwegians Take to the Streets for Electric Cars (and Get Electric Car Sharing!)
According to the Plugs and Cars blog, a small parade of around 50 electric cars tooling through the streets of Oslo this week underlined Norwegians' frustration that their government hasn't made much effort to support TH!NK as it struggles to be solvent and fulfill the multiple orders it has from municipalities around Europe to assemble its popular TH!NK City car. At the same time, Norwegians got a chance to drive and experience electric cars when the city's first car share program Move About added electric City cars to its roster.TH!NK's sad tale of underfundingTH!NK started seriously ailing at the same moment that it was ready to start mass producing City cars. Unfortunately, easy world credit dried up at the same moment that the company needed massive infusions of cash, and the doors to the assembly factory were closed in December.
Photo of TH!NK Move Around 'bildeling' cars by Kjetil Maeland via Nettavisen.Miraculously, TH!NK continued to cut contract deals with city governments all over Europe, and continued to build cars using existing part supplies. Different pro-electric-car groups in Norway took to the streets on Wednesday to protest the government's lack of help for TH!NK and demanded the company receive loan guarantees so that it can stay in business.
In the meantime, one company that managed to get its hands on a fleet of new TH!NK City cars is Move About (the new company's CEO is TH!NK's former chief Jan-Olaf Willums. Move About currently has a fleet of 13 cars in the center of the city and wants to ratchet that up to 75 within the year. By car share standards, Move About's electric cars are not exactly cheap - membership costs 100 Norwegian crowns a month and 100 crowns an hour (around $15.75). Membership cards have an RFID chip to open a reserved car's doors. Inside the TH!NK City cars there's also a special button that when depressed for six seconds or more automatically sends a help signal to the Move About offices. Perhaps that's to help new users who might get 'range anxiety' while getting used to driving electric.
Read more about electric cars at TreeHuggerAffordable Electric Cars: Why is Europe Getting All the Goodies?Video: Test Driving an Electric Smart CarTesla Motors: Affordable Electric Cars Are ComingAffordable Electric Cars Beating Major Manufacturers to MarketTH!NK Electric Cars Considering U.S. Market - You Can Help