Few companies have so vehemently and vocally supported hybrid and electric vehicles like General Electric. While it is obviously in the interest of GE, which produces charging stations and electrical components for electrified vehicles, GE made waves by pledging to replace half of its vehicle fleet with plug-in vehicles. Two years later, and that pledge is holding up, albeit at a slow, methodical pace.
A company like GE doesn’t normally just purchase 12,000 vehicles all at once. It makes no sense to replace a perfectly-good car, albeit a less-efficient one, with a vehicle like the Chevy Volt. Rather, as vehicles need replacing, GE is buying up cars like the Volt and the Ford C-Max Energi. With 30,000 vehicles in its fleet, GE stands to pad the sales numbers of hybrid vehicles all the way through 2015.
According to a report by Plug-In Cars, GE already has 2,000 electric or plug-in hybrid cars on the road, with another 3,000 on order. Additionally, GE has worked some CNG pickups into its fleet, and plans to have over 5,000 alt-fuel vehicles in its fleet by next spring. While GE is not a company without controversy, I personally appreciate their vocal support for this new breed of automobile.
This isn’t merely corporate activism either. GE produces many parts and accessories, like Wattstation EV chargers for electric vehicles, and there is a strong business case to be made for electrified vehicles saving money long-term. Between less maintenance and lower fueling costs, electrified vehicles can save companies like GE literally millions of dollars in operating costs over the long term. This is as much about cutting costs as it is about promoting a new product.
There are plenty of companies that could benefit from the lower operating costs of hybrid and electric cars. Delivery services like the UPS, FedEx, and the USPS are pursuing different alt-fuel vehicles, but only the USPS has made a commitment on the scale of GE, and those alt-fuel vehicles were overwhelmingly flex-fuel ethanol cars that probably use gasoline most of the time anyways. GE is diving in headfirst with the hybrids…will this move pay off?
Source: Plug-In Cars