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Auto Roundup: GSA Doubling Hybrids, Ford and Microsoft Team for Hohm Recharging

ford focusTwo recent developments should bolster the case for adding hybrids and electrics to corporate fleets.

The federal government plans to demonstrate the efficacy of hybrids in fleets with the General Service Administration’s recent decision to double the number of hybrids it owns.

The GSA will purchase about 5,600 hybrids this year, bringing the total to more than 11,100 trucks and cars, reports the Washington Post.

The government isn’t using the purchase as an opportunity to slash overall emissions on the road, however. The hybrid purchases are being funded, in part, by the sale of an equal number of older, gas-powered cars in the fleet.

Among the new vehicles will be about 100 plug-in hybrids.

In fact, Uncle Sam has dibs on the first 100 Chevy Volts to roll of the assembly line, reports the Detroit Free Press. Only fitting, since the government owns fully 61 percent of GM.

In other news that could help prove the worth of hybrids in corporate fleets, Ford is using Microsoft’s Hohm software to help schedule the least expensive time to recharge Ford’s plug-in hybrids, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Corporate fleets that add plug-in hybrids, especially for take-home cars for executives, will be able to claim lower program costs if such software is used.

Ford CEO Alan Mulally said the system would “ensure customers and utility’s have the tools they need to conserve energy and save money.”

Corporate fleets purchase about 300,000 vehicles a year, and they are expected to be among the steadiest customers of electric vehicles and hybrids as they come to market.

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