Electric cars for hire in the Swiss Alps

Invasion of the electric cars, run for the hills!

THINK electric cars are now available for hire in the Swiss Alps.

Even better, the EVs are powered by locally sourced renewable electricity, so they offer 100% carbon-free transportation.

EV charging is made accessible around the region thanks to more than 20 battery charging points that have been installed in the area – powered by renewable hydroelectric generated electricity derived from local mountain waters, reservoirs and dams.

The programme is to run as a trial during the peak European holiday season until the end of September 2010.

Visitors to the resorts can enjoy totally carbon-neutral transportation for use on their holiday thanks to Scandinavian electric vehicle (EV) maker THINK and its Swiss distribution partner, M-Way, teaming up with eco-tourism pioneer Alpmobil.

A fleet of 60 THINK City EVs has been made available in the Goms and Haslital region of the Swiss Alps, and will be available for hire through some 30 hotels, resorts and other tourist hot spots in the area.

Alpmobil will be marketing the service through its website and its resorts in the region, and the EVs will be available for hire at a special rate of €45.00 per day for Alpmobil customers.

The latest generation THINK City is a purpose-built, all-electric car that can travel at highway speeds and cover 100 miles on a single charge (via a conventional household outlet), with zero local emissions. It is the world’s first EV to be granted certification with the European CE conformity mark and EU homologation requirements (M1 certificate).

“This trial program fits perfectly with Alpmobil’s philosophy, and we are proud to have made a start and to show both the public and other resorts in sensitive regions that driving ecologically and without noise pollution is possible, affordable and fun,” said Dionys Hallenbarter from Alpmobil.

Daniel Hofer, Migrol CEO and project head at M-Way, added: “Sustainability in business is at the heart of Migros’ ethos, and M-Way is our means of delivering the transportation element of this plan. Through projects like this with Alpmobil we are leading the way in delivering clever but simple solutions and bringing them into the mainstream. This initiative is a perfect example of this, and as the EVs are powered by locally sourced renewable electricity, the offer boasts 100% carbon-free transportation to explore the beautiful and unspoilt valleys, mountains and pass roads in the region of Goms and Haslital.”

THINK CEO, Richard Canny, said: “When we announced our partnership with M-Way we talked of the innovative and alternate route-to-market offered by such a forward-thinking and pioneering group – this is perfect evidence in action of that philosophy and we are very proud to be a part of this new approach to eco-tourism. We look forward to speaking to similar-minded companies and resorts in other countries wishing to be a part of this sustainable revolution.”

European production of the latest generation THINK City continues in Finland at Valmet Automotive – also the assembler of the Boxster and Cayman models for Porsche. Customer deliveries are taking place across Europe in selected key EV markets such as The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Austria and Switzerland.

THINK has also recently announced plans to establish a U.S. production facility during 2011 in Elkhart County, Indiana, and is working with Japanese partner Itochu on developing operations in Asia.

Alpmobil offers solutions for sustainable mobility for tourism and local leisure traffic in the Gotthard Pass area of central Switzerland. The “E-mobility” project with Migros and THINK in the summer of 2010 is the pilot phase of the programme. In the next few years, more programmes are planned to create a whole network of sustainable transportation options around the Gotthard.

Migros is Switzerland’s biggest retailer. With more than 84,000 employees coming from over 140 countries, Migros is also the biggest private employer in the country, with a turnover of 25 billion Swiss francs (approx. 17.5 billion euros) in 2009.