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Ford Rethinks Key Elements of Its Electric Commuter Vehicle

January 09, 2002|JOHN O'DELL | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Ford Motor Co. has redesigned its plastic-bodied Think City commuter car for a sleeker look and more creature comforts than the Norwegian-built electric vehicle came with originally.

The new look, which includes a carpeted cargo area instead of the original Think's single-thickness, plastic-walled rear compartment, was unveiled at the Los Angeles International Auto Show.

Ford division President James O'Connor said the U.S. version of the Think City also will have an improved top speed of 60 miles per hour and come standard with air conditioning, power windows and an AM-FM stereo with CD player.

The two-seat car, designed for short trips, will retain its range of 45 to 50 miles on a single charge, but will be recharged through a conventional 115-volt household connection rather than the harder-to-find 220-volt system the European model requires.

Ford's Southland-based Think Mobility unit expects to begin selling the City this summer at 50 dealerships throughout the state.

Pricing hasn't been set, but Think valued the European model at $20,000 in a test lease program last year.

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