Ford Battles Hybrid-Friendly Legislation, Destroys Electric Cars

Ford Motor Co. CEO Bill Ford’s vocal attempts to position his company as eco-friendly are sounding a little hollow this week. As the California legislative session nears its end, Ford has ramped up lobbying efforts to kill a bill that would allow drivers of fuel-efficient hybrids to drive solo in the state’s carpool lanes. Ford said the measure — sponsored by Assemblymember Fran Pavley (D) and backed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) — is a “buy Japanese” bill “intended for almost exclusive use by Toyota Prius drivers.” Ford took issue with the bill’s stipulation that only hybrids getting at least 45 miles to the gallon would qualify, which would exclude his company’s new hybrid Escape SUV. California Treasurer Phil Angelides suggested that rather than whining, Ford should focus on building more fuel-efficient vehicles. Meanwhile, Greenpeace is protesting Ford’s plan to destroy more than 400 of its Think electric cars, despite an offer from a Norwegian distributor to buy the cars and sell them to eager customers in Norway.