Travis Hill

SVT Performance

As an attorney by day and a car enthusiast by night, Travis Hill has for the last 17 years channeled his passion for Ford vehicles into his website, SVTPerformance.com. Travis has aimed to create a place where automotive enthusiasts can come together to discuss all things car-related, particularly the modification of high-performance On-&-Off Road vehicles. Travis did more than just create an online community for Ford lovers though, as his interests extend to everything Ford Powered. That includes an obscure Ford electric vehicle that was only produced in 2002.

The Ford TH!NK Neighbor (“Think”) was produced by TH!NK Mobility, a short lived subsidiary of the Ford Motor Company which produced a variety of electrically powered transportation solutions. The Think was designed to meet the NHTSA specification for Neighborhood Electric Vehicle, and can be licensed as a Low Speed Vehicle in many states. Though the Think’s battery system is archaic by modern standards, its fully TIG welded aluminum monocoque chassis is still considered far more advanced than other LSV options on the market. The engineering quality and overall uniqueness of the Think led Travis to eventually amass a small fleet of these electric vehicles for use by his family. We recently spoke to Travis about one particular of his Ford Think vehicles that he uses for everyday transport and how RELiON lithium batteries helped fuel the success of this project.

Travis’ power system:

One major difficulty that Travis faced with his electric vehicles was that they needed a battery that was a very particular size to fit exactly in the unique compartments of the vehicle. This problem was solved when Travis’ Ford electric vehicles were fitted with six RELiON RB100 lithium batteries. Not only did these batteries meet the exact size specifications needed, they also offered faster charging times and lasted much longer than alternatives.

Why Travis switched to lithium:

“I was facing multiple problems with the battery bank and charging system of my Think Pickup. Early Ford Thinks were originally equipped with flooded lead acid batteries. Due to poor performance, these were quickly superseded by lead-gel units. Unfortunately, only one manufacturer produces gel chemistry batteries that are the exact size and post configuration needed for the Think. On top of being difficult to obtain, they are particularly expensive (value-wise), heavy, and begin to show range degradation in less than three years.

After a bit of research, I concluded that lithium batteries could offer significantly superior performance in a far lighter package. RELiON’s team was extremely supportive in helping me find a lithium battery to meet my exact specifications, which is also partially what convinced me to take the plunge and invest in lithium. Despite their higher upfront price point, I am now actually saving money after switching to lithium, as a result of their much longer lifespan - all while enjoying faster charge times.”

Why Travis chose RELiON:

“RELiON was a standout choice because it offers a wide array of battery shapes and sizes, including the perfectly sized battery that was needed for this project, something that other lithium battery brands were not able to offer. Additionally, RELiON has an excellent reputation. As someone who enjoys boating as a hobby, I had heard many positive things from the boating community about RELiON - everything from the company’s credibility and strong customer support to the reliability and longevity of their batteries.”

How lithium helped Travis achieve his goals:

“RELiON Lithium batteries provided me with the robust and powerful solution I needed in order to take my Ford Think to the next-level of performance I was reaching for. Before finding a properly sized lithium battery, we were left modifying inferior lead based batteries to keep our Thinks on the road. RELiON’s customer service / engineering team assisted us in finding a system that could charge all six batteries of the vehicle simultaneously, while still fitting with the space and architecture limitations of these one-year-only electric vehicles. In addition, the RELiON batteries cut our total battery pack weight in half. This resulted in increased performance and range. In the end, lithium batteries gave us a vehicle that was overall faster, had double the range (upwards of 35 miles), and was able to charge in a much shorter amount of time.”

Travis’ advice for people considering switching to lithium batteries:

“We had used several different configurations of lead-acid batteries in the past, but they simply burned out too fast. These batteries started diminishing in performance once they were about three years old and the constant need to replace them was time consuming and costly. You will not regret making the switch to lithium, as they are much lower maintenance, longer-lasting, provide significantly more usable power, and are more cost effective in the long run."