GE commits to electric vehicle fleet

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Updated Nov 19, 2010

Chevrolet Volt

GE announced Thursday, Nov. 11, that it will purchase 25,000 electric vehicles by 2015 for its own global fleet and through its Capital Fleet Services business. GE plans to deploy 15,000 electric vehicles in its own global fleet, which comprises 30,000 vehicles.

The remaining 10,000 electric vehicles will be deployed by partnering with its 65,000 global fleet customers. One of its companies, GE Capital Fleet Services, plans to provide customers with leasing and all other services that surround the operation of a fleet of electric vehicles. The company provides these services to customers whether or not they lease vehicles from GE, says Deb Frodl, chief strategic and product development leader for GE Capital Fleet Services.

GE says it initially will purchase 12,000 GM vehicles, beginning with the Chevrolet Volt in 2011, and will add other vehicles as manufacturers expand their electric vehicle portfolios. GE and its partners will use a mix of electric vehicle technologies to meet their respective needs. GE says its portfolio of product solutions, including charging stations, circuit protection equipment and transformers, enable it to lead wide-scale electric vehicle adoption and generate growth for its businesses.

“Electric vehicle technology is real and ready for deployment, and we are embracing the transformation with partners like GM and our fleet customers,” says Jeff Immelt, GE chairman and chief executive officer. “By electrifying our own fleet, we will accelerate the adoption curve, drive scale and move electric vehicles from anticipation to action. We make technology that touches every point of the electric vehicle infrastructure and are leading the transformation to a smarter electrical grid. This transformation will be good for our businesses and for our shareowners. Wide-scale adoption of electric vehicles will also drive clean energy innovation, strengthen energy security and deliver economic value.”

GE businesses including Capital Fleet Services, Energy and Licensing & Trading stand to benefit from an emerging electric vehicle market that could deliver up to $500 million in GE revenue over the next three years; this includes developing markets for GE’s charging station, the WattStation.

“GE’s commitment reflects confidence that electric vehicles are a real-world technology that can reduce both emissions and our dependence on oil,” says Dan Akerson, GM CEO. “It is also a vote of confidence in the Chevrolet Volt, which we will begin delivering to retail customers by the end of this year. We are pleased that the Volt will play a major role in this program, which will spur innovation and benefit our companies, our customers and society as a whole.”

GE also announced two electric vehicle customer experience and learning centers to provide customers, employees and researchers firsthand access to electric vehicles and developing technologies. One will be located outside of Detroit, in Van Buren Township, Mich., as part of GE’s Advanced Manufacturing and Software Technology Center. The other will be located at GE Capital’s Fleet Services business headquarters in Eden Prairie, Minn., with several other centers to be announced in 2011.

The two customer experience centers will monitor and evaluate vehicle performance and charging behaviors, driver experiences, service requirements and operational efficiencies, while also affording the opportunity to experience a variety of manufacturers and models–including trucks–to gain insights on electric vehicle deployment.

GE is launching its electric vehicle program as part of its ecomagination business strategy to accelerate the development and deployment of clean energy technology though innovation and R&D investment. In support of the announcement, an electric vehicle readiness toolkit has been launched on to help municipalities, customers and individuals prepare for wide-scale electric vehicle deployment.