Audun Asphiell explains: I am often asked by fellow business people in the city about my eco taxi, they especially want to know how I deal with only having two seats in my taxi and the fact that I re-charge instead of re-fuel. The answer is simple: about 60-70% of the rides at daytime during the week are with only one passenger. Our taxi central operator asks everyone who calls for a ride how many passengers are going. When there is only one passenger we are competing for the rides. During night time at the weekends the situation is obviously different, but the request for taxis at this time is so big anyway that there is still plenty for us to do.”
Even though the THINK City is a small electric car it is very well suited as a taxi. “The car is spacious with plenty of room for luggage and other equipment such as wheel chairs”, says Audun.
Many people ask us about charging and we explain them that this is really not a problem, we just plan our day and our rides, and Trondheim is a very friendly city towards electric vehicles, with many accessible charging points around the centre.
Even though the electric car is decorated like any other taxi in Trondheim, it far from disappears in the crowd. The zero emission THINK City is attractive for sponsors. “It is good fun driving an EV taxi as we get a lot of positive attention”, explains Audun. “ People find it very interesting as most people have never driven an EV before. We often have to spend the first five minutes of the ride to explain the basics about the car. People think it’s a great project and say that they admire us for taking an action towards reducing emissions. Many of our passengers want to get an EV for themselves after driving with us”, he smiles.
The pioneering global manufacturer of electric vehicles plans to begin selling the THINK City, one of the world’s first highway-capable urban EVs, in the U.S. later this year. The company plans to invest $43.5 million in building improvements and equipment in Elkhart County, and the plant could begin assembling vehicles in early 2011.
THINK is joining Indianapolis-based lithium-ion battery maker, EnerDel in choosing Indiana for a North American manufacturing location. Ener1, the parent company of Enerdel, is a 31% equity stakeholder in THINK.