All charged up: GE sparks up electric vehicle market

All charged up: GE sparks up electric vehicle market

Summary: Talk about seeding the market. General Electric is planning to buy 25,000 electric vehicles -- converting half of its global fleet by 2015.

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TOPICS: Tech Industry
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Talk about seeding the market. General Electric is planning to buy 25,000 electric vehicles -- converting half of its global fleet by 2015. That includes 12,000 of the forthcoming new Chevrolet Volts, which was reviewed by my SmartPlanet colleague Andrew Nusca over the weekend.

This isn't just a corporate sustainability/greening play on GE's behalf. It is no less than a calculated move to help put cars on the road for the electric vehicle infrastructure that GE is aiming to roll out with partners such as Better Place. Hear that J.D. Powers? If more corporate fleet managers get the same idea as GE, you might need to adjust your lukewarm electric vehicle projects upward.

Topic: Tech Industry

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5 comments
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  • But will the Volt......

    require new infrastructure? You still visit the gas station.
    Economister
    • The Volt is a plug-in hybrid, so, for normal commuting, you will be able to

      recharge every night at home. So, theoretically, if enough are charging cars at night, we will need more capacity on the electric grid.
      DonnieBoy
      • You are correct

        @DonnieBoy

        GE sells generators etc., but recharging at night, off peak loads, would not require more generators, only more "fuel" (gas/oil/nuclear or what have you), at least until we have a large number of hybrids on the road. Obviously electric cars might at some point be good for GE, but it seems like an awfully long term "investment".

        Maybe they are supplying components for the Volt, in which case what they are doing is making much more sense. Becoming a major supplier to the hybrid/electric car industry could fairly soon become big business.
        Economister
    • Other stuff

      @Economister
      Yes, you still buy some gas, but what else might you need?
      I've seen a couple of GE TV ads flogging some electric vehicle charging station they're making. If *I've* seen these ads, they must be running all the darned time, because I rarely watch TV. So, GE must be pushing pretty hard to get in on the ground floor of the plug-in car market, so giving it a "jump start" is good business for them.
      doodlius
  • It's a nice marketing ploy

    but 25,000 is a drop in the bucket compared to the total number of cars sold every year. In comparison, there are about 200,000 vehicles on the road that use propane (LPG).

    Still, I guess it's a start. Electric vehicles are still not economical for personal ownership (TCO is higher than the equivalent gasoline vehicle). But maybe with a ramp in total production volume, the costs will drop. I'm not holding my breath on that one.
    terry flores