GE Capital Fleet Services on Thursday, Sept. 22, broke ground on a customer experience and learning center that will showcase GE’s portfolio of electric vehicle deployment solutions and help GE commercial customers evaluate EVs and other alternative fuel vehicles for their fleets. The center is being built on GE’s campus in Eden Prairie, Minn., and is scheduled to open in spring 2012.
GE says it is building the facility so its customers can experience electric cars and trucks from a variety of manufacturers firsthand and analyze vehicle performance, driver experiences, service requirements and operational efficiencies with GE fleet experts. The center also eventually will feature alternative fuel vehicles powered by other energy sources.
“At GE, we are committed to helping our customers incorporate electric vehicles and other alternative fuel technologies into their fleets,” says Clarence Nunn, president and chief executive officer of GE Capital Fleet Services. “We’re looking forward to working closely with customers at our new center and sharing insights to help them improve environmental performance and reduce carbon emissions.”
GE’s center will be composed of four major components:
· An education center featuring classrooms for presentations, training and discovery workshops, as well as interactive displays;
· A solar carport and charging center that can charge up to 11 vehicles simultaneously;
· An experience center and showroom to help customers evaluate vehicles in a variety of configurations; and
· A private half-mile driving course that will allow customers to experience a variety of cars and trucks in different driving conditions. GE will keep alternative fuel vehicles at the center on a permanent basis for customer use on the driving course.
“Electric vehicles have the potential to solve some of the world’s toughest transportation challenges, and the center we are building will be a tremendous resource as we continue to educate our customers about the benefits of this technology,” says Deb Frodl, chief strategy officer for GE Capital Fleet Services and global EV leader for GE.
The center is part of GE’s broader ecomagination business strategy to accelerate the development and deployment of clean energy technology though innovation and R&D investment. GE Capital Fleet Services will run the center in collaboration with other GE businesses and GE energy and transportation experts around the world.