In The Beginning.
The idea behind Think Nordic was formed during the 1973 International energy crisis, when Lars Ringdal had the idea for a compact plastic-bodied vehicle to meet urban driving needs.
The idea laid dormant for several years, but growing environmental concerns in the late 1980's rekindled the idea, and in 1990 PIVCO AS (the Personal Independent Vehicle Company was founded by Lars' son, Jan Otto Ringdal.
Market analyses and feasibility studies of a mass produced electric car were performed in 1991, and the first driving prototypes developed the year after. Under the Lillehammer Olympic Games in 1994, the centre of town was open only to electric cars, where 10 second generation PIVCO prototypes were tested under extreme climate conditions.
PIVCO's third vehicle generation was developed during 1994 and 1995, and was named CityBee in Europe and Citi in USA. During 1995 and 1996, 120 CityBees/Citi's were built, with over a third being shipped to California to participate the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) station car program. The CityBee also won the Scandinavian Electric Car rally in 1995.
In the autumn of 1996 the development of the fourth generation vehicle started in collaboration with Lotus Engineering. Over the course of the next two years, new production premises were built and a production line was installed at Aurskog, Norway (50 km east of Oslo). Based on experiences from the first three generations, development work and crash testing on the fourth generation was completed, and the vehicle achieved EU type approval. The car also got a new name, and the Think city was launched to much acclaim in the autumn of 1998 at the Electric Vehicle Symposium in Brussels.
The Ford Years.
Financial difficulties temporarily stalled development, but in January 1999 the Ford Motor Company bought a 51% share of PIVCO Industries, which was renamed Think Nordic AS. Ford later bought the remaining 49% of Think Nordic and formed the Think Group, which led the development of environmentally friendly vehicle technology in Ford.
On November 11th, 1999 series production of the Think city (called A266 internally in Ford) started. Over the course of the next two-and-a-half years 1005 vehicles were produced, making it one of the largest fleets of electric vehicles on the road. The car was sold in 14 countries, including Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and selected cities in Europe and the United States.
In parallel with production of the A266, a new generation of the Think city (A306) was developed to better meet the needs of the American market. During this time Think Nordic grew tremendously as an organisation, drawing on our owner's 100 years of automotive experience and the latest quality assurance systems. A concept version of the new Think city was shown at the Detroit and Los Angeles auto shows in 2001, and a launch was planned for the Fall of 2002. The last Think city (A266) rolled off the production line on March 22nd, 2002, and the factory was prepared to produce the new car. In August, however, Ford announced that they were pulling out of Think Nordic, stating that they preferred concentrate on other alternative technologies such as hybrids and fuel cells.
A New Beginning.
Ford spent the autumn of 2002 looking for new investors, and on February 1st, 2003 Kamkorp Microelectronics was announced as Think Nordic's new owner. Kamkorp has interests in the field of innovative transportation, and has developed electric drivetrains and microelectronic products. Think Nordic's homologation and commercialisation competence is a perfect compliment to their other businesses.
Shortly after the takeover work commenced on the Think public, and in March 2004 a prototype was shown at the ELE-drive show in Estoril, Portugal. The Think public is designed specifically for use in urban centres and closed areas, with the exciting TIP car-sharing system showing great promise to help solve pollution and congestion problems in large cities. In addition to developing the Think public further, Think Nordic is working on several exciting projects towards its goal of showing the world "a new way of moving."
Think filed for bankruptcy on June 22, 2011.
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