The Ford Th!nk City is a great little electric car. It has a range of 53 miles, and a top speed of 56 MPH.

The Th!nk Bike Fun is an electric assisted bicycle. It makes going up those hills a lot easier.

Overall, I have been very pleased with these two vehicles; although I have had quite a few frustrating problems.

Good Things

I drive the City every day to work. I drive 20 miles where I drop off my passenger, and continue 5 miles further to my work. It makes this journey with about 50% charge. Normally I drive about 10 or 15 miles at lunch, then charge and drive back home again. I have put about 1180 miles per month on the City.

The Bike Fun has been a blast as well. We ride it around town, to get lunch on the weekends, and just to have Fun!

Bad Things with the City

Well, I think I got the lemon City. I have not heard of anyone else having these problems, but I think it would be good for everyone to know, especially since Ford doesn't seem to want consumer feedback.

On receipt of my City, I plugged it into my charger at home, and "Service Required" lit on the Charger. After double checking every electrical connection on the charger, I found that the car was apparently intentionally generating a ground fault to stop the charger. I returned the City to the dealer, who was kind enough to loan me another City while they fixed the problem. It took a couple weeks, but I did get my car back.

A couple trouble free months pass, and all of a sudden, my range falls from 50 miles to 25 miles! After a couple days of this, I take it in for service. They spend a week exercising the batteries, and claim it's fixed. They didn't drive the care more than a few miles. Sure enough, I only get 25 miles until it says 0% and starts to go slow. Well, I figure I'll see what happens. I drive the car around my neighborhood, keeping within pushing range. It miraculously goes slow for about 25 more miles! After more than an hour of going around the block, it finally dies. I push it up my driveway and plug it in. The next day it is entirely back to normal. The problem was an indication error and needed to be taken to real 0%!

I had a couple more trouble free months, then the cooling fans stopped spinning. I asked the dealer to investigate the problem when I took it in for it's standard maintenance. The reported that it was operating normally. I knew this not to be the case, but to no avail. I reported the same problem the next time I took it in for maintenance. Still, same answer -- No Problem Evident -- The fans are not supposed to run. Well, why are they there, and why did they used to spin? Well, about a week later, the weather started getting hot. Sure enough, the car stopped charging due to the heat. After a bit of haggling and three weeks in a rental (gas powered) car, they replaced the fan. Now it charges perfectly again.

The most recent problem, I was in the drive through at In-N-Out, when the car decided not to go forward anymore! After pushing it through, restarting it a couple times, still no motion. I noticed that it would beep at me when I touched the brake with the key off. I also noticed that the brake lights stayed on. Ah, I thought - the switch was stuck! Nope, checking the switch, everything was normal. Tow Truck Time! After a week they had it fixed - A shorted brake light wire.

Bad Things with the Bike Fun

Well, before today I would have had nothing bad to say about the Fun. That all changed...

After a year of trouble free, relatively light use, everything seemed to be normal. I plugged the charger in. It bulk charged for 3 hours and throttled to trickle charge, like normal. I left it trickling when I went to bed. In the morning, I smell a funny smell, and notice a puddle under the Fun, and the charger back on bulk charge! The charger was too hot to touch, and the batteries were very hot as well. I unplugged it and cleaned up the mess on the floor.

So, I called ThinkMobility service. They told me that they have had several Fun's and Traveler's with the same problem. They couldn't say whether it was a malfunction in the battery or charger. Since mine is 2 weeks out of it's one year warranty, they want me to send in the battery and charger on my dime to get an estimate. After a little talking, it turns out that I will definitely need 2 new batteries (of course) at $100/ea. Well, after looking inside the battery pack, they are ordinary 12V 12AH gel packs. They also want $200 for a new charger.

My main problem here, is that Th!nk knew that this was a problem and did not warn any of the owners! If I knew that this was a possible problem, I would have put the charger on a timer to avoid trouble. There is a pretty substantial circuit board in the battery pack (well, more substantial than I would expect in a gel pack.) There is a lot of sense circuitry in the charger, and they state that it is preferred to leave them on trickle between uses. Now, I have a useless bike that needs $420 + two way shipping to make it work again. Or I have to rip out their secret control circuits and build my own controller and battery pack.