Last week, General Electric announced that it will soon order 15,000 electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrids for itself and partner with its fleet customers to put an additional 10,000 on the road by 2015. This buying binge represents the largest commitment by a single company to date. Though GE's announcement is one of the first – and certainly the biggest – of its kind, industry analysts expect other mega-corporations to reveal similar purchasing contracts in the near future.

Which companies should we expect to hear from next? John Segrich, head of the green research group for N.Y.-based Gabelli & Co., predicts that delivery companies may stun us with a shocking announcement soon, stating:
You'll see some early adopters follow suit, people maybe like UPS or FedEx, and those are your logical first movers. You are going to see large corporations move this way.
Why all this talk of fleet purchases? Ray Lane, managing partner at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, states, "Corporate purchases can help nurture a viable commercial market for the cars, because initial demand among retail buyers will be muted." So, even if public sales of rechargeable vehicles tank, large-scale fleet purchases should help keep the EV industry afloat, at least for awhile.

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]


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