GE to buy 2,000 Ford plug-in hybrids
GE’s Immelt: Confidence in electric vehicles
General Electric Co. will buy 2,000 plug-in hybrid vehicles made by Ford Motor Co. for its corporate fleet, the companies said last week.
As part of the deal for the Ford C-Max Energi vehicles, the automaker said it will jointly market GE's alternative fuel infrastructure technology, including charging stations and natural gas fueling stations, to its commercial buyers. The agreement is Ford's largest plug-in electrified vehicle fleet sale to date.
GE, the largest U.S. conglomerate, has set a target to convert half its global fleet to alternative fuel vehicles. The purchase from Ford brings the number of such vehicles in GE's fleet to more than 5,000, compared with its goal of 25,000.
In May, GE CEO Jeff Immelt said people might be disappointed in the adoption rate of electric vehicles but his company would continue to invest in battery technology to reflect its confidence in them.
EVs carry expensive batteries and typically cost more than conventional vehicles of similar size. Sales of EVs thus far have been modest and below some initial expectations.
GE and Ford also said they would work with researchers from Georgia Institute of Technology to study GE employee driving and charging habits, with the goal of improving all-electric driving and charging performance. Findings will be shared with commercial customers to provide insights and help ease use of electric vehicles in their own fleets.
The C-Max Energi sells for $29,995, including shipping and after a $3,750 federal tax credit. Ford began shipping the vehicle to dealers a few weeks ago. It gets the equivalent of 100 mpg in combined city and highway driving as rated by the EPA.