Fleet News

Ford ditches Th!nk as demand wanes

FORD is to end production of the innovative Th!nk electric vehicle just months after putting it on trial with fleets throughout the country.

The manufacturer says there has been limited customer demand and it is now concentrating on hybrid and fuel cell vehicles that will give customers a 'no-trade-off experience'.

The Th!nk boasts a 0-30mph time of seven seconds, a top speed of 55mph, has a range of 50 miles and takes eight hours to recharge.

Ford in the UK has already launched trials of Th!nk vehicles with fleets, the police and Government officials as part of Th!nk@about Edinburgh and Th!nk@bout London, under which companies pay about £80 a month to hire the car from Hertz UK. The manufacturer says there will be no short-term impact on the current schemes and that it is committed to the three-year initiatives.

A spokesman said: 'We will work together with the authorities in London and Edinburgh to honour these commitments with our existing resources.'

Production at the Norway plant is expected to end this year and the manufacturer is discussing employment options, although the Th!nk brand may continue on other products.

The spokesman added: 'The technology landscape has changed since Ford acquired Th!nk more than three years ago. It has now become clear that the core battery-electric technology behind the Th!nk city has very limited future mass market potential.' He added that the anticipated balance between price and performance had not been achieved and because of disappointing customer acceptance, sales of battery electric vehicles are now wholly reliant on support from Governments and their agencies.

'Fuel cell is a true zero-emission technology: it improves local air quality because – apart from water – there are no emissions. We are at the forefront of the development of that technology, and we see hydrogen as the most promising energy carrier,' the spokesman said.

'For more than three years we have worked hard to generate interest in our battery electric TH!NK city, but the obvious lack of societal acceptance effectively ended its long term viability.

'It is in nobody's interest to keep producing something that nobody wants.'

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