Flag-drapped Th!nk city electric car
Flag-draped Th!nk city electric car receives a "funeral" at a San Francisco Ford dealership last week. Ford had planned to crush and recycle the cars, but owners and environmental groups including the Rainforest Action Network, Greenpeace USA and Global Exchange decided to protest this decision by holding a mock funeral both in California and the next day in Oslo, Norway.

Th!nk-again's Wake

The reports of Th!nk's death may have been premature as Ford pauses to ponder the fate of 350 orphaned electric city cars. News to follow at 11.

By EV World

Fans of Irish folk music will be familiar with a delightfully humorous ditty called "Finnegan's Wake". The central character of the song is a gentle, but tippling Irishman known as Tim Finnegan, who falls off a ladder, breaks his head and is "carried home a corpse to wake." Assuming poor Tim has died, his family and friends lay him out on the bed, cover him with a clean, white sheet and hold a reverential wake that gradually degenerates into a drunk brawl.

As a broken bottle of whiskey soaks Tim's death shroud, the Irishman revives, sits up and asks, "gentlemen, what do you think I am dead?"

Well, it appears that something similar just may have happened to the doomed Th!nk electric car program. Late this week, Ford announced in the -- pardon my pun -- "wake" of protests in California and Norway that it would reconsider its decision to crush the cars, and it would give its answer September 15, 2004.

While it's probably too much to hope that Ford will resuscitate the Th!nk electric car program in Norway, which it sold to Kamkorp, it is hoped that they will, at the very least, ship back to Norway the approximately 350 cars that Ford imported into North America under a special Department of Transportation waiver. 100 of those cars participated in a station car demonstration program in New York, while the rest where leased to various civic groups and private individuals in California. For more information on Ford's erstwhile Th!nk electric car program in America, read "Bursting the Bubble Again" and "Clean Commute".

The Rainforest Action Network, one of the California protest organizers, sent EV World several photos from the mock funeral held last week at a Ford dealership in downtown San Francisco. We are told that photo credits belong to Matt Fitt.

Surprisingly and quite contrary to our expectations, the event got wide coverage, with a number of the major newspapers picking up the original wire service story. Perhaps it was that event, and the fact that the Norwegian government got involved, that compelled Ford to reconsider its decision. It can't hurt that Norway's Crown Prince happens to own a Th!nk city, which is used by the Royal household. Certainly, the battle hasn't be won nor has this latest skirmish yet been settled, but perhaps we can see the glimmer of a light turning on finally at Ford Motor Company, where it has the opportunity to again be an international pacesetter.

Ex-Th!nk driver Sherry Boschert receives a folded American flag at end of ceremony

Boschert addresses fellow protesters

Rainforest Action Network Jennifer Krill

Th!nk city car formerly leased by Marc Geller

EV World extends its thanks to Rainforest Action Network, Greenpeace and Global Exchange for their support.

Times Article Viewed: 7184
Published: 28-Aug-2004


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