Several areas of the Swiss Alps have launched an innovative tourism project to promote electric cars.
The Alpine regions of Goms and Haslital, near Geneva, have installed more than 20 battery charging stations, all powered by renewable hydroelectric from Alpine reservoirs and dams, and partnered with the Scandinavian electric vehicle maker THINK to provide a fleet of its plug-in city cars for rental.
The EVs will be available for rent through 30 hotels, resorts and other popular tourist spots in the area, which is in the Valais region of Switzerland. Rental rates are around $60 a day, which sounds pricey until you remember that gas in Europe costs upwards of $8 per gallon, and this Swiss EV program includes free re-charging.
The THINK City car has a 100-mile range between charges, and can reach speeds of 70 mph, although that’s not a good idea on winding Alpine roads.
Besides being one of the largest producers of EV passenger cars in the world, THINK is the first EV to be granted regulatory safety approval throughout Europe. More than 10,000 THINK cars on the road in Europe and Scandinavia have driven more than 35 million miles over 20 years of EV production. A version of the THINK City car is scheduled to be produced in the U.S. and come on the market in late 2012.
“Eco-tourism is a major new part of the world’s sustainable revolution and through projects like this we hope to lead the way in delivering clever but simple solutions to traveling eco-consciously,” said Michael Lock, Chief Marketing Officer of THINK. “Traveling with the THINK City offers vacationers a 100% carbon-free way to explore the beautiful and unspoiled valleys, mountains and pass roads” in the Swiss Alps.