The first of several hundred TH!NK city electric vehicles arrived in the U.S. for demonstration programs in San Francisco and Dearborn, Michigan. The vehicles arriving today will help pique customer interest in the fun, innovative and environmentally friendly electric vehicles.

Ford plans to bring a redesigned version of the TH!NK city - now on sale in Scandinavia - to the U.S. in 2002.

"We want to get these cars on the road well in advance of the U.S. launch to get customers excited about the TH!NK city," said Jonathan Richards, TH!NK marketing manager. "These cars are so unique, so fun to drive that having them on the road is our best form of advertising."

TH!NK is delivering 15 TH!NK city cars to Hertz in San Francisco. Hertz will begin offering the vehicles to BART shared-car subscribers at Hertz's Fremont Station facility. Subscribers in the share-car program will be able to use the cars to commute from home to the Fremont station (home end users) or from the Fremont station to work (corporate end users).

Hertz will also have a limited number of TH!NK city electric vehicles available for daily rental at its Fishermen's Wharf location for visitors looking for a small, convenient city runabout vehicle. Rental of the TH!NK city cars through Hertz are subject to availability.

In addition to the vehicles delivered to Hertz, TH!NK is delivering 40 city electric vehicles to Ford Motor Company in Dearborn as part of the company's pool car fleet.

"Ford Motor Company plans to lead the industry on environmental issues through our actions," said Richards. "We've been using low-emission, natural gas powered vehicles in our corporate fleet for several years. The TH!NK cities are a natural choice for commuting on our central campus."

Ford requested and was granted permission to bring up to 750 TH!NK cities to the U.S. for demonstration purposes. TH!NK plans to launch several more demonstration programs throughout the U.S. over the next year and a half.

TH!NK city provides comfortable transportation for two adults and is designed for urban driving, with a real-world driving range of approximately 53 miles (85 km) and a top speed of 56 miles per hour (90 km/h).

A liquid-cooled three-phase alternating current-induction motor powers the car. Nineteen nickel-cadmium (NiCad) batteries - also water-cooled for maximum performance - generate approximately 11.5-kilowatt-hours of energy to power the motor.

The TH!NK city uses a 220-volt/16-amp circuit with an off-board recharging station. It takes approximately eight hours to fully charge a drained battery and five hours to attain an 80 percent charge at 220 volts - the same voltage that runs most kitchen stoves and clothes dryers.

Most of the vehicle is recyclable, including its NiCad batteries and the thermoplastic body panels.

TH!NK city went into production in November 1999 in Norway and is currently sold in Scandinavia. In addition to TH!NK city, the TH!NK portfolio of zero emission vehicles also includes TH!NK bike fun (standard frame) and TH!NK bike traveler (folding frame) electric bicycles and the TH!NK neighbor a low-speed, battery electric car.