• Nov 11th 2010 at 10:58AM
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2011 Chevy Volt – Click above to watch video after the jump

We recently mentioned that General Electric was about to order thousands of electric vehicles for its corporate fleet and now, it seems, the buying binge has begun. The company announced today it will be ordering 15,000 electric vehicles for itself and partner with its fleet customers to get an additional 10,000 on the road by 2015. First on the list? The Chevy Volt. 12,000 of them.

Yes, we know that technically the Volt is not a "pure" electric, but considering the dent these vehicles will put in total gasoline usage, we won't quibble.

The move isn't completely altruistic. Yes, it should be a bonus for the environment and reduce dependence on foreign oil. But by helping ramp up sales numbers in this new segment, GE expects about $500 million to find its way into its own coffers over the next three years.

Besides the big Volt buy, GE also announced the creation of what it calls "electric vehicle customer experience and learning centers." The facilities will be put in place to give some of its customers, employees and researchers "first-hand access to electric vehicles and developing technologies." One will be located at its Advanced Manufacturing and Software Technology Center in Van Buren Township outside Detroit while another will find a home at GE Capital's Fleet Services business headquarters in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.

Check out all the details in the official press release after the break as well as a bit of corporate video discussing the purchase.

[Source: General Electric]
Show full PR text
GE Announces Largest Single Electric Vehicle Commitment, Commits to Convert Half of Global Fleet by 2015

- GE to purchase 25,000 electric vehicles for its fleet and for fleet customers
- Wide-scale electric vehicle use expected to deliver up to $500 million in near-term business for GE
- Announces new electric vehicle customer experience centers in Michigan, Minnesota

FAIRFIELD, Conn.--11 November 2010-- GE (NYSE: GE) announced today it will purchase 25,000 electric vehicles by 2015 for its own fleet and through its Capital Fleet Services business - the largest-ever single electric vehicle commitment.

GE 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. GE will initially purchase 12,000 GM vehicles, beginning with the Chevrolet Volt in 2011, and will add other vehicles as manufacturers expand their electric vehicle portfolios. GE and its partners will use a mix of electric vehicle technologies to meet their respective needs. Chevrolet Volts will roll off production lines this month and other automakers are bringing electric vehicles to market. As this occurs, GE is in a strong position to help deploy the supporting infrastructure to help its 65,000 global fleet customers convert and manage their fleets.

GE owns one of the world's largest fleets, operates a leading global fleet management business, and offers a portfolio of product solutions including charging stations, circuit protection equipment and transformers that touch every part of electric vehicle infrastructure development. This enables GE to lead wide-scale electric vehicle adoption and generate growth for its businesses.

"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. "By electrifying our own fleet, we will accelerate the adoption curve, drive scale, and move electric vehicles from anticipation to action.

"We make technology that touches every point of the electric vehicle infrastructure and are leading the transformation to a smarter electrical grid," Immelt said. "This transformation will be good for our businesses and for our shareowners. 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 & 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 GE's charging station, the WattStation.

GM 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. We are pleased that the Volt will play a major role in this program, which will spur innovation and benefit our companies, our customers, and society as a whole."

FedEx Chairman, President and CEO, and Electrification Coalition member Fred Smith 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. 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 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. 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.

GE is launching this comprehensive electric vehicle program as part of its ecomagination business strategy to accelerate the development and deployment of clean energy technology though innovation and R&D investment. In support of the announcement today, an electric vehicle readiness toolkit has been launched on ecomagination.com to help municipalities, customers, and individuals prepare for wide-scale electric vehicle deployment.

About GE's ecomagination

GE is driving a global energy transformation with a focus on innovation and R&D investment to accelerate the development and deployment of clean energy technology. Since its inception in 2005, more than 90 ecomagination-approved products have been brought to market with revenues reaching $18 billion in 2009. With $5 billion invested in R&D its first five years, GE committed to doubling its ecomagination investment and collaborate with partners to accelerate a new era of energy innovation. The company will invest $10 billion in R&D over five years and double operational energy efficiency while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption. As part of the initiative, GE launched the "GE ecomagination Challenge: Powering the Grid", a $200 million financial commitment challenging innovators to join in building the next-generation power grid. For more information, visit the ecomagination website at http://ge.ecomagination.com/index.html.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      The car is limited because GM knows the car won't sell, that's why they are offering a heavily subsidized lease and the government is having to offer huge incentives to sell any units at all......
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is not surprising at all. The CEO of GE is an Obama loving liberal. The Obama administration wants GM to succeed at all cost (the NHTSA witch hunt against Toyota, srewing the former GM shareholders, clearing GM from having to pay taxes under TARP rules, etc. etc.) so that he can take care of the unions. So obviously now GE is going to buy a bunch of Volts since we all know the car is a flop in the making. I'm sure GE will get something out of this, talk about a win win.....
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is good news for Eden Prairie, MN, a Minneapolis suburb. It means we will likely see some Volts in the Heartland a year or two earlier than we expected. Our winters (and Detroit's) will give them a good test.

      Too bad they won't be E85 ready, as later Volts will be built. This is ground central for E85. The City of Eden Prairie has its own E85 pump for its flex fuel vehicles.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Diggin' that color in the main picture. Looks good!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Unpainted rockers mean little or no paint damage from tire spray. GM assumed you would rather have molded-in-color rockers, rather than sand blasted rockers. If you want them body color they should be relatively easy to remove & send out for paint.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It does look good but I still don't like the unpainted lower rocker panels. Reminds me of those bargain bin cavaliers I still see sometimes that came with unpainted bumpers from the factory, from what I understand.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is not a surprising move. GE has become a Democrat party butt munch with the Obama regime. GE has thrown millions at the Democrat party so why wouldn't GE buy a truly fubared product from the biggest Socialist Automotive Company there is? GE has also received millions (and likely billions) of Federal Government money and I wouldn't be surprised that the money they are spending on the VaporVolt (which will likely be even less efficient than the EcoSnuze) is coming from some slushfund of Federal dollars.
      • 4 Years Ago
      lol, it'd be hilarious if they grabbed 12,000 out of the initial allocation :P
      • 4 Years Ago
      While I'm happy to hear this news, it makes me wonder if GE has any stake in the Volt's success. It seems to me that if electric (or mostly electric) cars take off as an industry that GE would be in a perfect position to supply many of the components. If this is true then it sounds like one of the marketing strategies they teach at Kolb Learning ( http://www.haygroup.com/leadershipandtalentondemand/Products/Item_Details.aspx?ItemID=21&type=4 ). Even if this is the case, I'm still happy to see the Volt selling.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I just going to admit it... I like the Volt.
      • 4 Years Ago
      So the Volt has shades of Sebring when it comes to fleet?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Quit trolling.
        • 4 Years Ago
        You are aware just about every half decent car gets fleet sales by one company or another, right?

        The NY Dept of Transportation has a Prius fleet. I see fleet Escapes all over SF.

        Fleet sales have a bad tinge to car lovers, but they're the way of things. Companies need vehicles. It's cars that sell almost entirely as fleet cars where things get dicey. Comparing this to a Sebring is just naive and pretty obvious trolling.
        • 4 Years Ago
        sweet recycling taxpayers dollars from one failed company to another....
        • 4 Years Ago
        When the Simpleton gets to 0% can we block his IP/Mac Address/Gateway just to keep things clean?
        • 4 Years Ago

        Well, you do realize that's kind of the point, right? The cash infusion helps right a sinking business, and then that money is re-infused in the economy. It gives a ripple effect. Personal feelings on whether this was a fair decision by the gov't can be debated, but what you're describing is the ideal.

        I'd hardly call GE a failed company though.

        BTW...posting something completely irrelevant to the first post just to get higher in the comments is really, really lame.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ jrm

        Don't mind him - he's just an idiot.

        @ SimpleCar

        I label trolling as going to every post about an America automaker and then posting something negative about the content of that specific post because you just don't like that automaker, then wonder like an idiot why everybody down-votes you.

        Get a life.
        • 4 Years Ago

        Agreed, but you're oversimplifying the system. Economy boosts, artificial and temporary or not, don't have to be a bad thing. In this particular case it was essentially an alternative to meltdown. Giving padding and stabilization for recovery was the goal here, not a massive boost for the heck of it. If you can prime the pump, the effects can continue, or not. Interest is a tricky thing here since it CAN be repaid...it's just a question of how long. The money's out there...just not necessarily where GM wants it to be.

        What we don't actually know is whether that'll happen in the long term. I think what's interesting in our mess is that it wasn't really the fault of the manufacturing sector, but the people running it. You sweep them out, try to right the wrongs, prime the pump with cash to try to reverse the mismanagement, and hope the solid sector foundation can recover.

        As I've said many times before...I'm very split on the whole thing (both economically and judicially). But his comment was out of line.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Smart move by GE, and they're certainly not ignoring the PR aspect.
      Fleet sales are a logical market for many alternative fuel vehicles, whether it be electric, natural gas, or even hydrogen. They have lots of vehicles, usually running only moderate distances between returns to the depot, so it's financially viable for them to install the refueling/recharging infrastructure.
      Large fleet customers also pay more attention to ongoing running costs than most individual consumers do.

      Since GE hopes to be a big player in parts of the electric vehicle business, this gives them a means of collecting loads of real-world test data, which adds additional value to the deal for them.

      With the value equation improved for somebody like GE, it's less crazy for them to spend the premium as early adopters, which helps keep the money flowing into electric vehicle R&D, plus that whole economy of scale thing, where building 100,000 of something allows everybody to get more value out of the equipment required to create them than if they were only building 10,000.

      Whoever at GM negotiated this deal is probably earning a sweeeet commission, too.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm kind of surprised nobody has commented, except one loosely, that this is pretty annoying for the consumers. Chevy has said production is limited, so this is going to make it even harder for a consumer to get their hands on one.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Next should be post office and a lot of government agencies that drive below 40 miles per day. That alone will save millions of $$$ on gas DAILY!!!
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