General Electric Will Buy 25,000 Electric Vehicles by 2015

FAIRFIELD, Connecticut, November 11, 2010 (ENS) – GE today announced the world’s largest-ever single electric vehicle commitment. The company will purchase 25,000 electric vehicles by 2015 for its own fleet and through its Capital Fleet Services business.

GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt said the company will convert at least half of its 30,000 global fleet to electrics and will partner with fleet customers to deploy a total of 25,000 electric vehicles by 2015.

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

GE and its partners will use a mix of electric vehicle technologies.

GE will initially purchase 12,000 General Motors vehicles, beginning with the Chevrolet Volt in 2011, and will add other vehicles as manufacturers expand their electric vehicle portfolios.

2011 Chevrolet Volt (Photo courtesy GM)

Chevrolet Volts will roll off production lines this month and other automakers are bringing electric vehicles to market. Immelt said this purchase will enable GE to lead wide-scale electric vehicle adoption and generate growth for its businesses.

“We make technology that touches every point of the electric vehicle infrastructure and are leading the transformation to a smarter electrical grid,” Immelt said.

GE manufactures an electric vehicle charger, the GE WattStation, which is designed to cut the time needed for vehicle charging from 12-18 hours to as little as 4-8 hours compared to standard charging, assuming a 24 kWh battery and a full-cycle charge. The WattStation uses smart grid technology to allow utility companies to manage the impact EVs have on the local and regional grids.

“This transformation will be good for our businesses and for our shareowners,” said Immelt. “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 and Trading will benefit from an emerging electric vehicle market that could deliver up to $500 million in GE revenue over the next three years. This includes rapidly developing markets for the WattStation.

General Motors CEO Dan Akerson said, “GE’s commitment reflects confidence that electric vehicles are a real-world technology that can reduce both emissions and our dependence on oil. 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.”

Fred Smith, FedEx chairman, president and CEO, and Electrification Coalition member, said, “With more than 16.3 million vehicles in operation in 2009, the nation’s fleet can drive initial ramp-up scale in the battery industry and OEM supply chains.”

“By buying these vehicles, GE is helping ramp up production which will help lower the price of vehicles and their components and make electric vehicles more visible and acceptable to the public at large,” said Smith. “This is good for GE, good for our economy, and good for our nation.”

GE also announced today two electric vehicle customer experience and learning centers to provide customers, employees and researchers first-hand access to electric vehicles and developing technologies.

One center will be located outside of Detroit, in Van Buren Township, Michigan, as part of GE’s Advanced Manufacturing and Software Technology Center.

The other center will be located at GE Capital’s Fleet Services business headquarters in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, with several other centers to be announced in 2011.

The 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, and gain insights on electric vehicle deployment.

In support of GE’s purchase, an electric vehicle readiness toolkit has been launched on www.ecomagination.com to help municipalities, customers, and individuals prepare for wide-scale electric vehicle deployment.

In April, GE and Nissan signed a three-year agreement to explore new technologies that are needed to build a reliable, dynamic smart-charging infrastructure.

The Japanese automaker will roll out its all-electric Leaf vehicle next month in Japan, the United States and Europe.

“Nissan’s vision is to realize zero-emission mobility through a holistic approach by collaborating with various partners in a broad range of industries,” said Shunichi Toyomasu, corporate vice president, Nissan Motor Co. “Working with GE, we expect this joint research project will provide insight for the home/building and electric grid connections which supports electric vehicles.”

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