KXTV reports that Ford has reversed its decision to repossess a fleet of Ranger electric pickup trucks leased to Californians and will allow the lessees to buy them.
The reversal comes after a handful of the pickup’s lessees staged a protest at a downtown Sacramento Ford dealership. The unhappy drivers have publicized their displeasure with Ford in a weeklong “truck sit-in”.
Ford began leasing the zero-emissions trucks in the late 1990s. The carmaker developed the Rangers to meet a state mandate then in place that required 10 percent of new cars sold in the state by 2003 to have zero emissions.
Later, however, the state backed off the 2003 deadline and with new-car technology shifting to electric/fuel hybrid models, Ford curbed development of the all-electric pickups. Originally Ford had offered drivers the option of buying their trucks when leases expired. Instead, it started taking back the Rangers when contracts expired.
Ford had earlier claimed that the company's decision to demand the return of all remaining electric pickup trucks came because the federal government didn’t renew a needed waiver. After some public outcry over the accuracy of that statement, Ford officials conceded they were mistaken, saying it had been an honest error stemming from confusion with the TH!NK, another Ford EV that had indeed required a waiver of federal highway rules.
In September 2004, Ford had also announced that it would repossess and crush its TH!NK electric vehicles. Yielding to pressure then as well, Ford instead shipped the some 300 cars to Norway (their origin), where they were sold.
As a related note, TH!NK Nordic, the revamped electric car manufacturer now under different ownership, has announed plans to launch a new electric car, the TH!NK Public.