Electric Car Capital: Oslo, Stocholm, Tel Aviv?


Norway's THINK Ox 4-door is still just a concept car.

It could be old Swedish-Norwegian rivalries rearing up again. Norway has the electric car maker THINK, which is beginning to roll new THINK city cars off of its production line next month (some of them rolling right over to the Swedish isle of Öland). THINK also showed the four-door, five passenger concept car Ox at the recent Geneva Auto Show.

Meanwhile, Sweden's Volvo and Saab together with the Swedish utility Vattenfall and battery maker ETC are straining to get ahead in hybrid-electric vehicle infrastructure. In a joint project with investments of around 62 million Swedish crowns (just over $US 10 million), a mixed 10-car fleet of Volvo and Saab plug-in hybrids will be road tested in Stockholm. Finnish power company Fortum (which owns Stockholm's electric net) and Toyota are speeding ahead to give Stockholm a good network of available outlets for re-charging - especially in parking lots and adjacent to business districts. Fortum says the problem of how owners will pay for their recharge isn't yet solved, but poses no great technology barrier (hint: how 'bout via SMS?). Currently, costs per 10 kilometers of driving are estimated to be between 1 and 3 crowns ($.16 - $.48). But while Oslo and Stockholm battle it out in Scandinavia, Project Better Place is betting over US$200 million and moving quickly on making Israel the first to have a complete electric recharging infrastructure. Via ::Dagens Industri (Swedish)

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