Think Quietly Sets Price of City Electric Car at $41,695 (Update)

By · March 25, 2011

Think City in Berkeley

Think City in my driveway. The cost to put one in your driveway is now set at $41,695, before incentives.

(Update 3/25/11): Think informed this morning that the $41,695 price is for the first 100 units sold, based on low-volume production. The actual price at retail launch has not yet been set, but $34,000 is the “target.” For buyers in Indianapolis, the current transaction price for the vehicle is $30,050.65, which includes state sales tax and available state rebates, but not the federal tax credit.

In November, I received word from Think’s top marketing executive that the price of the Think City two-seat electric car was “just below $34,000 before incentives.” That’s why my jaw dropped yesterday when I learned from Greg Artisan—a three-year Think veteran with responsibilities for sales, service and execution—that the official price was quietly announced late last year at $41,695.

How did I miss that?

I spoke with Greg when he dropped off a Think City loaner for a road review. I’ve only had a few minutes with the car, but so far it’s been an absolute blast to drive. Expect a full report soon. But the jump from what already appeared to be a hefty price for the fun and funky small two-seater raises questions about the market potential for Think City.

The bump in price is almost identical to the $7,500 federal tax credit for electric cars. Is that a coincidence? The tax credit would have lowered the price to a more reasonable range in the mid-$20,000—maybe a palatable figure for an urban solo-driving commuter wanting a fun ride and trying to avoid unpredictable gas prices. At $34,000 after the incentive, it’s another matter.

Nonetheless, Greg informed me that Think has already sold about 100 of the models produced at the company’s Elkhart, Ind. facility. In fact, the first delivery in late 2010 beat out the Nissan LEAF as the first EV sale in this era, according to Greg. The vast majority of the sales have been to fleets and corporate accounts—matching European sales, 80 percent of which have been to fleets.

If the price doesn’t put you off, the Think City is on sale now to individuals at Tom Wood Auto group, a large dealership firm based in Indianapolis.

The new higher price for the Think City is not out-of-line with the lofty price tag of the similarly-sized Smart ED (Electric Drive) which is currently only available for lease at $599 per month, with a $2,500 down payment. Final pricing has not been announced for the Mitsubishi i—another all-electric city car, although a four-seater. How will these models compete with more spacious and practical electric cars from Nissan and Ford? Of course, Daimler will only make about 500 units of the 2011 Smart ED, and Think is aiming to sell fewer than 3,000 units in its first year.

By the way, Greg also told me that Michael Lock—the Think chief marketing officer who shared pricing info with me in November—is “no longer with the company.”

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