One of the major problems with electric vehicles is the cost of the battery. Usually costing much more than the rest of the vehicle put together, this is a major stumbling block.
However Norway’s two-seat, electric-powered Think City car (set to go on sale in the coming months) will come with an owner financing package unheard of in the auto industry. Consumers will pay an estimated USD$15,000 to $17,000 for the vehicle, but the company plans to lease the car’s battery as on it’s own it would cost an estimated $34,000! Moreover, the Think battery’s useful life will depend on how the vehicle is used. Meaning if Think owners were compelled to buy the battery along with the car, they’d be assuming risks few vehicle buyers would tolerate.
The workaround Think has devised is a USD$100-200 per month bundle that will include the battery lease plus other services such as insurance and mobile internet access. The latter will enable the company to remotely monitor the battery’s remaining useful life. As the battery’s ability to recharge declines with age, the company will automatically offer owners the chance to replace it or alternately keep the battery in exchange for a lower monthly leasing fee.
Think’s battery-leasing business model differs sharply from that of US electric car maker Tesla Motors. With a batteries-and-all price tag of about USD$100,000, the sporty Tesla is being marketed as status symbol for Hollywood celebrities and Silicon Valley titans. Notwithstanding, under an agreement announced this spring, Tesla will help supply Think with battery packs. Notably, both Think and Tesla are start-ups, aptly illustrating how the switch to alternate fuels will make room for innovative upstarts in an industry dominated by giants.
The Prius is no longer the greenest car
According to a study recently released and conducted between Cardiff University and Clifford Thames an automotive consultancy, the Prius has been relegated to 12th spot in terms of “greenest car”. Green Options reports that despite this, the Prius makes up over 50% of all hybrid sales in the US. The study did not just look at emissions, but on its environmental footprint including raw materials used in the construction of the car, and what impact its disposal will have.
Finally (for now), Eco Shopper reports that Piaggio, manufacturers of the Vespa scooter, are producing a hybrid scooter that is 3 wheels- the Vespa MP3. It is safer and more stable than its 2 wheel cousins apparently, and looks pretty good. They start at $7,000 from http://www.piaggiousa.com/.