Think and Think Again – String Of Electric Car Failures Continues Unabated

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Like all electric cars, the Norwegian Think Global electric car was the future. And because it held the promise of rescuing the climate, it was especially worshipped by the media. It symbolized technical savvy, progressive thinking, and was supposed to be proof that thinking green could lead to success, profit and a saved planet.

Well think again. All that was just slick marketing. And, as always, it never takes long for reality to catch up, pass and leave fantasy in the dust…no matter how much it is subsidized.

Cars waiting a year for parts, 30% broken down

About a week ago the English-language Norwegian online newspaper thelocal.no told us the story of how the hip “Think” electric cars has turned into a complete flop, at least in Norway. The Local writes here:

Think electric cars have begun to stack up at the few mechanic’s shops able to service them due to a spare parts shortage. Up to 30 percent of the 2,000-odd models produced have suffered breakdowns of a key power-control unit, or PCU. The car’s lithium-ion battery is powerless to recharge without the PCU, and the plant that made them shut its doors in Finland in June.”

When the car was first rolled out, the politically correct media loved it. Even Norwegian neswpaper Addresseavisa bought one of its own. But The Local writes that Addresseavisa’s own Think “was in for repair”.

Most likely sitting in a lot in the back waiting for spare parts that likely will never come. The Think car has had a history of failure. According to Wikipedia it went bankrupt 4 times since it was founded in 1991. Even Ford took a shot at it, but abandoned it.

Nissan Leaf and range anxiety 

The Think car is not the only electric car suffering from financial and technical woes. Other brands, even with the help of massive subsidies, have shown zero viability. Take the subsidized Nissan Leaf for example: Liza Barth of Consumer Reports panned it. Here’s what she wrote about it (emphasis added):

I decided to head out on my regular long commute, with the cheaper toll, but saw the Leaf quickly run though the charge and drop to 39 miles about halfway through my trip and I was freezing. I was very happy to see stopped traffic on the New York State Thruway (that’s a first) as that calmed my range anxiety and I saw the estimated range actually increase by six miles. The last two miles of my trip, I put on the heat with 24 miles left, but it did little to warm my already numb fingers and toes. I made it to the office with 17 miles to spare.”

The Leaf also comes with a “high-pitched whine”.   The infrastructure for charging up electric cars is also a complete flop.  For example North Carolina’s Duke Energy supplies charging stations for electric cars, but has asked its customers not to use them. According to WCNC:

Duke Energy is asking customers who own their electric car charging station to stop using the product after a house fire in Mooresville last month.”

Looks like lack of range, massive subsidies, impracticality and no infrastructure will continue to plague and cripple electric cars for a long time to come.

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17 responses to “Think and Think Again – String Of Electric Car Failures Continues Unabated”

  1. DirkH

    Ford sold that business to the Norwegians in 2008 – Ford was trying to turn assets into money to avoid having to take Obama’s money, and went through the crisis without help.

  2. oeman50

    Is the shut-down plant in Finland going to make the drive train for the Fiskers Karma electric car to be sold in the US? Just asking.

  3. biggreenlie

    Electric cars are fantastic!………they let you drive “anywhere” without polluting the planet and without having to pull into a gas station to get “hosed” at the pump…………..dreamland………..so clean so friendly and so politically correct…………..IF you live inside a TV commercial!!!!!!!!!

  4. “Electric cars are Fantastic”……………IF you live inside a TV Commercial!!!!! « The Big Green Lie

    […] Think and Think Again – String Of Electric Car Failures Continues Unabated […]

  5. DirkH

    I think it was kwik on WUWT, he’s Norwegian, who explained how it is possible to drive an electric car in Norway in winter. Remember, the heating eats up a lot of battery capacity.

    They add an oil-fueled heater for the cabin.

    I found that pretty hilarious. This large oil exporting nation with its terrible eco guilt complex…

    1. dave ward

      “They add an oil-fueled heater for the cabin.”

      This, bizarre at it may sound, is by far the most sensible solution. They only require a couple of amps DC to drive the fan and operate the ignition, rather than the huge current draw of a purely electric heater. A small tank of diesel or domestic heating oil would probably suffice for most of the winter season, except in really cold climates. It’s perfectly possible to install a timer, so that your car/van/truck is warmed up before you leave the house.

      Of course there is always the possibility of having a CHP system running your car.

      Oh, I forgot – that’s pretty well what conventional vehicles already do!! I’ll bet the average motorist in North America is very grateful for the surplus heat produced by his or her internal combustion engine.

  6. Bruce of Newcastle

    Lithium ion batteries huh? Its easy to work out what that means.

    About 40,000 t of lithium is mined each year around the world. A Tesla Roadster needs something like 20 kg for its battery pack, which gives an actually useful range of about 350 km. So the world annual production would let you build 2 million Teslas a year. The US alone sees 5 to 8 million new cars purchased.

    So, if you really believe in EV’s buy shares in a lithium mine.

    Though this is self defeating given that soon after the lithium price skyrockets all EV’s will become so hopelessly expensive that the market will crash, and so will your share price.

    I love market economics, they are so brutally honest.

    1. DirkH

      I don’t remember from which year this is but I read the average yearly Lithium production per consumer in the developed world is 9 grams.
      (Mind you I’m a cornucopian and I fully expect this to go up; there’s a lot of Lithium in seawater and in various Granites in Canada, and in Nevada or Arizona I think, and there’s this huge salt lake in socialist Bolivia which will get exploited, only the price has still to be negotiated… but anyhow, there’s a long way to go for Lithium production to be able to power all the cars that are needed)

      In the meantime this might be a much better solution:
      http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2009/07/trolleytrucks-trolleybuses-cargotrams.html

      1. Bruce of Newcastle

        We used to have a tram network in my city, but it closed in 1930. Some were steam trams. The stories were that at times the driver would have to ask the passengers to get out and push to get the tram over some of the hills.

        Anyway, now we don’t have steam trams. But with those nice gently sloping rights-of-way we now have paved bicycle paths. Which are very nice too, except in magpie breeding season, which is now (they turn into avian Me 109’s where bikes are concerned for some reason known only to them).

        But I like the idea of bike paths being torn up to re-lay tram lines. Popcorn time for the green on green action.

  7. DirkH

    Sometimes it’s funny living in a nondemocratic fascist multinational conglomerate.
    Water does not prevent dehydration, rules Supreme Being Barroso of the EU:
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2063031/Dehydration-EU-says-CANT-claim-drinking-water-stops-body-drying-out.html

  8. Casper

    I think you should read a short story about using of “green electricity” in the future in Germany
    http://www.science-skeptical.de/blog/ein-dezembermorgen-in-einem-kleinen-dorf-in-der-eifel/006079/
    awesome 😉

  9. nofreewind

    yes but Who Killed The Electric Car?

  10. Kent Taylor

    If your writing a article about a car gone bust, try using the updated photo, rather then the first generation photo of the car that looks nothing like it. I own one and it’s a fourth generation car now. Yep…..from Elkhart, Indiana with Enerdel batteries. One simple comment……I love it at about $1.20 a day for 60 miles round trip to work. Thats interstate most of the way. The real Think is on its website. A tad better looking. Oh, by the way…..Think America is still going.

  11. Kent Taylor

    I just read the whole article. I don’t have a clue where you got your info and I know it’s a year old, but Duke and house fires with charging stations and Leaf issues, etc? Duke just installed a charging station at my home on Nov. 28, 2012. We have a great infrastructure in Central Indiana and for that matter, where EV’s are concentrated in the US and it’s getting bigger. I’m getting ready to install several stations where I work and around our campuses. Shall I keep going on the positive aspects of owning a battery powered car, or should I continue to read the BS and not respond, even though I and a whole bunch of people I know own EV’s and love em? I still own a gas car for travel and the wifes trip to work. 98% of our driving is in the EV. The Gas car sets in the driveway, most of the time. The savings in gas and maintenance…..makes its 30 month long car payment.

  12. Kent Taylor

    Oh…..one more thingK…….The THINK is 90% Ford and 99%off the shelf common parts and fully supported by Think in the States. Mine is still in warranty with full support and the best service(what little I’ve had) as compared to any car I’ve ever owned.

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