In a move destined to have wide-ranging implications for the fledgling electric vehicle market, General Electric announced that it will purchase 25,000 EVs by 2015 which it plans to deploy throughout its own fleet and those of its corporate customers. This largest-ever corporate acquisition of electric vehicles will commence in 2011 in a deal with General Motors that will include 12,000 EVs, beginning with the new Chevrolet Volt. Currently one of the world's largest fleet operators with some 65,000 vehicles under its management umbrella, GE says it will add vehicles from other manufacturers as their EV lineups continue to expand and come online. It plans to employ a mix of different electric technologies that will most effectively meet the overall requirements of various individual fleets.
"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."
Immelt also recognized this commitment will yield tangible direct benefits for his firm as well as for the American consumer. "We make technology that touches every point of the electric vehicle infrastructure and are leading the transformation to a smarter electrical grid. 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." He indicated that various GE business units, notably its Capital Fleet Services, Energy and Licensing & Trading, could see the emerging EV market generate up to $500 million in corporate revenue over the next three years, including expanding sales of GE's WattStation quick charger.
General Motors CEO, Dan Akerson, was equally enthusiastic in assessing this groundbreaking development. "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."