Raboy's Ranger EV Rebellion About Energy Security and Clean Air

Protesters point out that their electric vehicles are emission-free and run on America-made electric power, not imported oil.

Published: 20-Jan-2005

David Raboy doesn't want to give up his Ford Ranger EV electric pickup. Period.

So with the help of the same environmental and human rights groups that helped encourage Ford Motor Company to reverse its decision late last summer to crush its Th!nk city electric cars, Raboy, a software engineer and Foothills rancher, along with fellow Ranger EV lessee, Bill Korthof, are staging a "sit-in" -- now in its sixth day -- at Downtown Ford in Sacramento, California. Raboy's rebellion is gaining national attention, causing Ford to announce it would consider some form of accommodation with other owners like Raboy who wish to buy out their leases.

EV World reached Global Exchange representative Jason Mark by cellular telephone from the site of the protest and talked to him and Raboy about the purpose of their protest. That 10 minute-long interview is now available on the EV World web site at http://www.evworld.com in MP3 audio format.

Ford built hundreds of the battery-powered pickup trucks in the 1990s to comply with the California Zero Emission Vehicle mandate, leasing them to both public fleets and private individuals, not only in the Golden State but across the country. Most of those vehicles have since run out their leases and been returned to Ford to be "recycled", although no new electric-only vehicles were offered as replacements, despite intense owner loyalty. Ford's explanation is that customers are more interested in hybrids then battery-powered vehicles. There are an estimated 75 all-electric Rangers still out on lease.

Raboy has been on a personal crusade to get Ford to let him buy the vehicle, which he uses on his small ranch in the California foothills outside of Mariposa. The sit-in is his latest effort to raise the issue to the national arena, including a nationally-broadcast news story on CBS. The protest outside the Ford dealership has attracted the attention of the media in California from the Sacramento Bee to the Los Angeles Times. According to reports on January 18th, Ford is considering some form of accommodation for owners like Raboy who wish to buy-out their leases. At the time of our interview at about 1 PM Pacific time, no decision has yet been made.

EV World is one of the leading Internet resources for information on advanced electric-drive, hybrid and fuel cell vehicle technology. It has been online since 1998.

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Third quarter losses and fierce competition for American car and truck buyers, prompted the automaker to launch a corporate-wide campaign last month to reposition Ford Motor as a leader in innovation and cutting-edge energy policies.

While Ford is having trouble getting hybrids to American buyers, in the UK, Ford cars average 20-40 mpg more than their US counterparts.

Ford's next hybrid will be the Fusion slated to be introduced in 2008, along with the Mercury Milan Hybrid.


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