Ford back-tracks decision to destroy zero emissions vehicles

Ford Motors has announced this week it is to make a dramatic u-turn on its widely unpopular decision to repossess and destroy all the last of its zero emissions Ranger electric vehicles (EVs).

The abrupt decision follows a national public outcry that forced the company to take back misleading statements that slammed the legality, popularity and viability of EV technology.

Following a meeting with Jumpstart Ford coalition partners, Global Exchange and the Rainforest Action Network, the director of sustainable business strategies at Ford, Niel Golightly, finally agreed that the auto giant would keep its original promise to sell the pollution-free pickup trucks to the public.

Along with the EV community, the Jumpstart Ford coalition has announced it will continue to call on Ford Motors to revive its entire EV programme and immediately implement existing technology to improve its long-standing bad polluter ranking at the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as well as end its addiction to oil.

Ford’s environmental record certainly precedes it, having supported the 2004 federal lawsuit attempting to overthrow California’s popular new vehicle emissions standards (see related story), the first regulations to be implemented anyway in the US to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The recent Automakers Rankings 2004 report from the Union of Concerned Scientists (see related story) also ranked Ford as having “the absolute worst heat-trapping gas emissions of all the Big Six automakers”.

According to the EPA, the overall average fuel efficiency of Ford’s fleet today is 18.8mpg – the lowest ranking among the major automakers for the fifth consecutive year. Moreover, since the oil crisis in the 1970s, Ford has ranked worst in overall fuel efficiency of all major automakers for 20 out of the last 30 years.

Marketed as “the first American hybrid”, the Ford Escape represents less than 0.5% of its fleet and therefore has virtually no effect on its last place fuel efficiency ranking.

However, Mr Golightly reportedly told USA Today towards the end of last year: “Clearly, the entire industry could build nothing but zero emissions cars today if it wanted to.”

By Jane Kettle

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