Ford has redesigned its TH!NK city electric vehicle for sale in the US, starting this autumn.

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The all-new version includes interior and exterior styling tailored to US customers, as well as features such as power steering, power windows and power locks; dual cup holders; air conditioning; driver and passenger-side front air bags; and a five-mile-per-hour bumper.

When it goes on sale, it will be the only mass produced, fully functional, street-legal battery-electric vehicle in its class sold in the United States.

The TH!NK city was introduced in Europe in 2000.

A unique test programme is placing up to 400 special fleet vehicles in US cities this year.

Customers can receive varying purchasing incentives based on local, state and federal rebates. A 10% rebate of up to $5,000 is offered in the state of New York, and a 10% tax rebate based on the recommended retail price is available from the US federal government during 2003. Also for 2003, California will offer electric vehicle customers a $5,000 to $11,000 incentive.

Approximately 100 New Yorkers will utilise the cars to meet specific needs such as driving to busy New York train stations.

The “Clean Commute” vehicles are part of the largest test programme of its kind, designed not only to gather customer feedback on the car, but also to prepare the market for the urban commuter vehicle concept and test the vehicle in key market niches.

The two-door, two-seat TH!NK city is built in Aurskog, Norway and will come in a choice of six exterior colours. Its outer body panels are manufactured from a durable thermoplastic with molded-in color, preventing denting, chipping and rusting.

TH!NK city is first in the Ford lineup to offer a button on the key fob that allows the driver to preheat or precool the interior before entering the vehicle. In addition to the standard fast-charging capability at 220 volts, TH!NK city also features a 120-volt charger, enabling customers to plug the vehicle into any standard outlet.

The TH!NK city is a front-wheel-drive car with an AC electric powertrain and single-speed gear reduction drive. It has a top speed of 62 miles per hour and a range of up to 50 miles.

The battery pack can be charged from 20 percent to 100 percent in approximately seven hours using the 208V/220V charging system. A thermal management system maximises vehicle range and minimises charge time.

Most Americans drive less than 25 miles per day, and 25 percent of all trips are less than one mile long.