Right now, the Th!nk City is just not economically viable. It costs too much. This article says it costs a bit more than $40K (including the battery) before taxes:
To be economically viable, they need to get the cost down. Here is how I think they could do it:
1) Move the factory to a place with cheap labor.
Norway is a great place, but their relative wealth makes it a poor place to do manufacturing. Th!nk needs to open up a factory in a place with cheap labor. Eastern Europe, Elkhart Indiana, and other places need the jobs more than the Norwegians do and they'll work for less money. The Th!nk City costs $21K without the battery pack . . . that is way too expensive. One can buy larger brand new cars for less than $20K in the USA and they come with a full gas-powered drive train! Without the battery pack, the Th!nk City should cost no more than $15K.
2) Reduce the size of the battery pack a little bit.
The 180km (110 mile) range is nice, but it makes the vehicle too expensive since the batteries are so damn expensive. Most people do not drive anywhere near 110 miles a day . . . 25 is closer to average. GM says 40 miles would cover 80% of daily automobile driving. So, a range of 80 miles will be enough for many people . . . they need just enough to drive back & forth to work plus a bit extra to prevent 'range anxiety'. .So Th!nk needs to reduce the battery size. They should try to do it in a way wherein a person could add more batteries later. Or allow people pull out a smaller pack and replace it with a bigger one later. Perhaps give people several options of battery pack sizes . . . 20Kwh, 24Kwh, 28Kwh, etc. People can own (or rent) a 2nd (gas) car will be used for long trips.
3) Get a better price on battery packs.
They are currently paying over $500/KWH for the batteries. With Lithium-Iron-Phosphate (LiFePO4), they should be able to get batteries for less than $400/KWH. I've seen $350/KWH for prismatic LiFePO4 batteries from Thundersky. Surely Th!nk can get a price around that range from good supplier with a high volume contract. (Stay away from A123 . . . they are great batteries but they cost way too much.)
4) Reduce the weight of the vehicle.
Surely they can eliminate some
of that weight . . . a car that small should not weigh as much as it does. Reduced weight will increase range and reduce material costs.
With the above few changes, they should be able to push the price down to the low $30K range. Then, after the $7500 tax-credit, the car would be in the mid $20K range. Still a little bit pricey but there would be a market for that in the USA . . , Especially if they make the convertible. And with Europe's high gas prices, a lot of people would find such an EV attractive.
Once real mass production begins, they can continually do refinements to push the price down (cost efficiency re-designs, lower battery prices, increased factory efficiency, better contracts with suppliers, etc.). If they can get it down to $22K after the tax credit, it will be quite economically viable.
A person with such a car would pay only about $200/year in electricity to drive 10,000 miles a year. That will be a huge savings in gasoline costs that will make up for the increased price. (A gas car driven 10K miles with 25 mph will cost $1200 per year to drive at $3/gallon . . . so if gas prices average at that level for the next 10 years (average price probably will be much higher!), a person would be saving $1000/year in gas costs. So, that is $10,000 in fuel savings over the next 10 years. Plus add-on the fact that there will be no oil changes, fewer repairs, less maintenance, etc.
They are so close . . .just not quite there. A few changes and the Th!nk City can become economically viable, IMHO.