Andrew Michrowski writes: Solidarity for clean energy works.
For Immediate Release:
Wednesday, September 1, 2004
Paul West, Rainforest Action Network, (415) 398-4404 x319, email@example.com
stops crushing Th!nk EVs due to grassroots pressure; Norway awaits delivery.
- More U.S. EV funerals
expected until Ford takes action.
- Activists demand
zero-emission cars and call on Ford to stop misleading the public about EVs.
- Bill Ford opposes
California plan to encourage fuel-efficiency.
San Francisco – Following
a week of intense international grassroots pressure, Ford Motor Company’s U.S.
fleet of Norwegian-produced Th!nk electric vehicles (EV) may soon be
headed home to fill waiting list orders for the popular zero emission cars.
The decision marks an abrupt u-turn by Ford which had been ignoring
letters of interest from automakers Elbil Norge and Th!nk Nordic
and the Norwegian Minister of Transportation. At the same time,
Bill Ford, Jr. wrote a letter to California governor Arnold Schwartzenegger
opposing a proposed law that would encourage purchases of the most
fuel-efficient passenger cars. U.S. and Norwegian citizen groups expect an
action plan from Ford on the Th!nk EVs by September 15.
Rainforest Action Network
In an August 27 letter concerning the Th!nk EV controversy to Norwegian Minister
of Transportation Torhild Skogsholm, Ford conceded that “it is very
clear to us that there is a high demand for these vehicles in Norway, not in the
least because of the high priority and support your government has given to
environmentally friendly transport technology.” Ingvar Sviggum, a
vice president of Ford Europe confirmed, “It is with pleasure that I am able
to inform you that we have, with immediate effect, stopped any further scrapping
of these vehicles.” The letter acknowledged the commitment made by Ford
earlier last week in meetings with Global Exchange, Greenpeace and Rainforest
In an August 27 press statement issued in response to Ford’s letter, Torhild
Skogsholm wrote, “I expect Ford will do what is necessary to bring these cars
to Norway, and I have asked them to keep me informed on what they are doing.
For me this matter is not over today. It is over the day these cars
drive on Norwegian roads.” She emphasizes, “It is pointless to destroy more
than 400 fully functional and environmentally friendly cars. There is a
great demand for these cars here in Norway, and they can contribute to cleaner
air and less pollution in our cities.”
Environmental, EV and human rights activists have now joined forces to demand
that Ford commit to a zero emissions future and stop misleading the public about
the role that current EV technology can play to reduce deadly greenhouse gas
emissions and air pollutants. The grassroots coalition warns Ford and
other automakers to expect more public protests as reluctant drivers are forced
to turn over other EV models such as the Ford Ranger. Auto industry lobbying
gutted California’s progressive Zero Emissions Vehicle Mandate, abruptly
ending U.S. EV programs in 2002. From public protests to editorial
cartoons, the Th!nk EV controversy is making news throughout Europe.
“Electric vehicles offer a glimpse into what a completely zero-emission auto
fleet could look like,” said Jason Mark, Clean Car Campaigner at the
human rights group Global Exchange. “If we are going to be serious
about breaking our oil addiction, we need to begin nurturing existing solutions
such as electric vehicles.”
“Bill Ford, Jr. portrays himself publicly as an environmentalist while he
is working behind the scenes in California to oppose new legislation that would
encourage fuel-efficiency,” said Jennifer Krill, director of the Zero
Emissions Campaign at Rainforest Action Network. “If Ford
wants to green the blue oval, it will have to do more than advertise its Rouge
River F150 plant and make a few thousand hybrid SUVs. The fact remains
that Ford is still at the bottom of the barrel on fuel efficiency and will
remain there until its cars and trucks are as green as its marketing.”
“EVs are a perfect solution in places like Norway and California where access
to solar, hydro and wind power is a public priority,” said Sherry Boschert,
a former Th!nk EV driver in California. “I'm pleased that Ford is coming
to its senses regarding the fate of these EVs, but it shouldn’t take an
international grassroots movement to motivate U.S. auto makers to do everything
possible to promote zero emission cars. If Ford marketed and lobbied for
zero emission EVs the way it has for gas guzzling SUVs, it could revolutionize
urban and suburban transportation.”
"If Ford really wishes to produce environmentally friendly zero emission
vehicles for the mass market, they should stop hiding behind empty talk about
fuel cells that still are at the pilot stage, while still producing large
numbers of heavy and inefficient fossil fuel vehicles,” stated Truls
Gulowsen, a campaigner for Greenpeace Norway. “Ford should
rather do as Henry Ford would have done, continuously improve efficiency and
establish mass production of the most modern zero emissions technology that is
already available today - modern battery electric vehicles - instead of shutting
# # #