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GE to Buy 25,000 Electric Vehicles by 2015

GE plans to buy 25,000 electric vehicles by 2015 for its own fleet and through its Capital Fleet Services business, which the company touts as the largest single electric-vehicle commitment to date.

 GE says it will convert at least half of its 30,000 global fleet and will partner with fleet customers to deploy a total of 25,000 electric vehicles by 2015. The company will initially purchase 12,000 GM vehicles, starting with the Chevrolet Volt in 2011.

“Today’s announcement by GE regarding the purchase of 25,000 electric vehicles is significant, as this action will likely serve as the catalyst for other fleets. Additionally, we believe that GE’s action is a critical step in the role that fleets can play in utilizing more than 20 percent of the announced battery manufacturing capacity by 2015, thus helping accelerate the scale-driven cost reductions in advanced batteries,” said Oliver Hazimeh, partner and head of the global e-Mobility practice at PRTM, a global management consulting firm, in an e-mail statement.

As the Chevrolet Volts roll off production lines in November, GE says it is in position to deploy the supporting infrastructure to help its 65,000 global fleet customers convert and manage their fleets. The company also is poised to garner $500 million in near-term business with wide-scale electric-vehicle use.

In addition to owning one of the world’s largest fleets and operating a leading global fleet management business, GE offers a portfolio of product solutions including charging stations, circuit protection equipment and transformers that are needed for electric-vehicle infrastructure development.

As part of its electric-vehicle strategy, GE and Better Place recently announced a partnership to accelerate the global deployment of an electric-vehicle infrastructure, with one goal of converting corporate fleets to electric vehicles. The partnership leverages GE’s technology portfolio, smart grid expertise, and its new WattStation electric vehicle charger with Better Place’s EV services and infrastructure solution.

“Electric vehicle technology is real and ready for deployment and we are embracing the transformation with partners like GM and our fleet customers,” said GE chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt, in a statement. “By electrifying our own fleet, we will accelerate the adoption curve, drive scale, and move electric vehicles from anticipation to action.”

GE also announced two electric-vehicle customer experience and learning centers to provide customers, employees and researchers first-hand access to electric vehicles and developing technologies. These centers will monitor and evaluate vehicle performance and charging behaviors, driver experiences, service requirements, and operational efficiencies, says GE.

One will be located outside of Detroit, in Van Buren Township, Michigan, 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, Minnesota, with several other centers to be announced in 2011.

GE also released an electric-vehicle readiness toolkit at the ecomagination.com Website to help municipalities, customers, and individuals prepare for wide-scale electric vehicle deployment.

“It is vital that fleet owners and operators lead the way in this transformation, as GE is doing today,” said Robbie Diamond, president and CEO of the Electrification Coalition (EC), in a statement. “I thank GE, and look forward to working with them as we continue our efforts to accelerate the deployment of electric vehicles in order to combat the economic, environmental, and national security threats posed by oil dependence,” he added.

GE is a member of the Electrification Coalition, which launched in 2009. EC plans to release its “Fleet Electrification Roadmap” report on November 15, which will provide an analysis on the economics of electric vehicles for fleet operators.

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3 thoughts on “GE to Buy 25,000 Electric Vehicles by 2015

  1. I think with a large organization taking the lead, we will see municipalities finally start to bring smart grid technology into the planning process. Developers should be accounting for an amount of alternative energy production and some parking spots for the coming change to electric vehicles. New communities can definitely take advantage of some forward thinking planning.

  2. Our company, ERA Environmental Consulting, Inc. is in the process of trying to purchase the Chevrolet Volt. We had contacted some dealers that will receiving the Volt, and are waiting for them to get back with us. Good story!

  3. Chevy Volt: Is it as Green and Practical as They Say?
    by James H. Rust
    on April 9, 2011

    President Obama’s administration is pushing electric cars because of claims of high fuel efficiency and a small carbon footprint. The Chevrolet Volt travels on average 35 miles on a 12 kilowatt-hour battery charge. However, you need to trace that charge back to the power plant where it originated.

    Two-thirds of the energy is lost by conversion at the power plant and transmission to your home or charging station. Ten percent of the energy is lost converting alternating current to direct current. So it requires 40 kilowatt-hours of energy from the source to charge the Volt’s battery.

    Forty kilowatt-hours of energy is equivalent to 1.15 gallons of gasoline. So your Volt is getting 30 miles per gallon as an electric car. If you lived in Hawaii or parts of Florida, electricity is produced with oil. This would be poor gas mileage for a small car like the Volt; similar sized cars would readily get 40 miles per gallon. In the winter with temperatures below freezing, your Volt would only get 20-25 miles on a charge. About half our electricity comes from coal, so it is an easy calculation to show a Volt has a far larger carbon footprint than more fuel-efficient conventional cars.

    Other problems not addressed with electric cars are the safety of lithium batteries and extra charges for insurance because losses from minor or major collisions involving electric cars may have greater financial losses. A United Parcel Service cargo plane crashed due to fire in Dubai last September 3. The cause of the fire may be due to lithium batteries which can short circuit and burn hot enough to melt an airplane.

    Governments will pay you to buy an electric car such as $7,500 from the federal government and $5,000 by the state of Georgia. This is a terrible waste of taxpayer’s money; in particular during difficult economic times. Individuals like Charlie Sheen will take advantage of these programs.

    President Obama’s ability to pick energy winners are as good as his picks for the 2011 NCAA basketball tournament.

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