GE just announced that it will purchase 25,000 electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles by 2015. The first 12,000 of these will be GM Volts. Other manufacturers will be included in the purchase as their products become available. At an average of $40,000 or more per vehicle, that's at least a $100 million purchase.
“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.
GE will also benefit from its own purchase, which will accelerate the deployment of GE's charging stations, and many other GE products used in EVs' manufacturing and operations. Some experts estimate that the EV purchase could pump back $500 million into GE's revenue in the next 3 years.
“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.”
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.”
A GM spokesman said the purchase of 12,000 Volts by GE will not affect deliveries to retail customers: "It's between now and 2015, so the volume is manageable."
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.”
US-based EV manufacturers that could benefit from GE's commitment include Tesla Motors, Coda Automotive, Aptera, Bright Automotive, and Smith Electric Vehicles. And more indirectly, engine makers Achates Power and EcoMotors, and charging station maker Coulomb Technologies could also benefit.
A great story for the EV industry and the creation of green jobs.
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