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Ford Donates 500 Electric Vehicles to Calif. Nat'l Parks
Largest Ever Gift of Alternatively Fueled Vehicles

Park Ranger Claudia Magnus of the National Park Service poses with two TH!NK neighbors.

In an impressive step to keep National Parks clean and quiet, Ford Motor Company has donated 500 electric TH!NK vehicles to be used in National Parks throughout the state of California. The donation represents the largest gift of alternatively fueled vehicles ever made.

The TH!NK neighbors are zero-emissions low-speed vehicles that will help to reduce air and noise pollution in National Parks throughout the state.

“This donation from Ford Motor Company and the National Park Foundation will help protect the environment while enhancing the visitor experience at National Parks throughout California,” said Interior Secretary and NPF Chairman Gale Norton. “This type of innovative partnership is the future of National Park stewardship, and I am grateful to Ford for this gift.”

As one of the National Park Foundation’s five corporate Proud Partners of America’s National Parks, Ford is committed to finding innovative transportation solutions for National Parks. Working very closely with the National Park Service and NPF over the last two years, Ford has placed dozens of college student interpreters and transportation scholars in Parks across the country. Ford is also restoring the historic fleet of red touring buses in Glacier National Park to run on cleaner propane gas.

“We created TH!NK to help find unique solutions to environmental transportation challenges,” said Susan M. Cischke, VP, Environmental & Safety Engineering, Ford Motor Company. “The National Park Foundation partnership is a perfect fit for that goal and the TH!NK neighbor is a perfect fit for use in the Parks themselves.”

The donation includes 250 two-seat TH!NK neighbors and 250 four-seat TH!NK neighbors. The low-speed electric vehicles are designed for commuting on speed-limited roads, resorts and golf courses or as security or maintenance vehicles inside business parks, corporate campuses and industrial areas. TH!NK neighbor has a top speed of 25 mph and a range of up to 30 miles. The vehicle is battery powered and can be recharged using any household outlet in six to eight hours.

The vehicles will be placed in all 23 National Parks in California, from Alcatraz Island in San Francisco to Whiskeytown-Shasta-Trinity National Recreation Area in Redding. The neighbors will be used to for a variety of purposes – all enhancing the visitor experience – ranging from transporting Park volunteers, roving Ranger interpretation programs, transporting maintenance personnel to areas of need, and providing transportation for visitors with physical challenges. Many of the neighbors will replace vehicles fueled by gasoline that were previously used for these purposes.

“Many of our visitors come to this park for solitude and quiet reflection, and these quiet vehicles will help ensure that we do nothing to disrupt their experiences,” said Cal Jepson, general manager of Xanterra Parks & Resorts operation in Death Valley National Park. “The vehicles also provide us with a prime interpretive opportunity for launching discussions of alternative transportation with our visitors.”

For more information on TH!NK vehicles, click here.

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