Does the Think City add up?

6 March 2008

Think Ox conceptWe’re not sure if the new Think 5-seater, called Ox, is supposed to be pronounced ox, as in oxygen, or whether it’s supposed to be pronounced oh-ecks, as in O2, the oxygen molecule. Either way we think it probably makes more sense if you’re Norwegian. To us it sounds like a dumb name (as in dumb as an ox). Nice looking car though.

Meanwhile, we’ve been pondering the price of the Think City electric 2-door. The price is, well, pricey.

If it’s really going to cost £14,000 to buy plus £100 a month to lease the batteries, that’s going to add up to a lot of money - £20,000 into the pot after five years’ motoring, with who-knows-what in the way of residuals.

Let’s be generous and say the City will retain 60% of its purchase price after three years – the same proportion as a Toyota Prius. And let’s assume it will tend to clock up a low mileage in the region of 5,000 miles per year, which should cost about £50 a year in electricity.

A shiny new City will therefore cost about £5,600 in depreciation, £150 in electricity, and £3,600 in leasing, for a grand total of £9,350 or thereabouts for three years and 15,000 miles of electric motoring.

Over the same period a bought-from-new Prius will cost about £8,000 in depreciation, and about £1,300 in petrol, at current prices and with a real-world fuel economy of about 45mpg, over the same 15,000 miles. For a total of £9,300. Less if you drive with a light foot.

So the only benefit of choosing the Think over the Prius will be relatively small savings on insurance and servicing, plus the feeling that you are actually causing less pollution.

The benefit of choosing the Prius over the Think would be a larger, more flexible vehicle that can take you as far as you want to go and back again.

So it seems to us that the Think City – attractive as it may be – is not going to be what you’d call a rational purchase.

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