Ford Motor Co. begins production of a zero-emission vehicle on Oct. 29, 2001, when the first Think Neighbor, a low-speed electric vehicle, rolls off the production line at the TruMack assembly chassis plant in Detroit.
Ford CEO Jacques Nasser and Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer were behind the wheel. The Neighbor was sold at Ford dealerships in select markets nationwide with the first shipments sent to Southern California.
Ford planned to build 5,000 to 10,000 of the vehicles per year.
The Neighbor, part of Ford's lineup of zero-emission EVs, was designed for commuting on speed-limited roads, resort and golf course use or as a security or maintenance vehicle inside business parks, corporate campuses and industrial areas. It had a top speed of 25 mph and a range of up to 30 miles. The vehicle was battery powered and could be recharged using any household outlet in six to eight hours.
Ford said it became the first automaker to dedicate a brand to environmental products with the Think Group. Ford acquired Norway-based Think in 1999 for $23 million and invested some $100 million in EV technology.
Other vehicles included the pedal-assist Think Fun bike, the folding Think Traveler bike, and the Think City urban vehicle. The City was a two-seat EV with a top speed of 55 mph and a range of about 55 miles.
In August 2002, Ford, discouraged by low customer demand, lack of government support and high battery costs, said it would pull the plug on the Think division and sell its shares. The resulting company, Think Global, produced EVs in Norway until declaring bankruptcy in 2011.