General Electric, owner of one of the world’s biggest corporate vehicle fleets, will buy 25,000 electric vehicles by 2015. The EV purchase helps both GE, which makes EV technology, and EV prices, which remain prohibitively high. From the Wall St. Journal:
The move will benefit the conglomerate, which makes technology that “touches every point of the electric vehicle infrastructure,” said Chairman and Chief Executive Jeff Immelt. GE says the electric-vehicle market could generate up to $500 million in revenue for the company over the next three years, helped by demand for its charging station, the “WattStation.”
The company will initially buy 12,000 Chevrolet Volts, made by General Motors Co., starting in 2011. GE said it will then add other electric vehicles to its fleet as other manufacturers expand their portfolios. The company noted it is in a “strong position to help its 65,000 global fleet customers convert and manage their fleets.”
The AP explains how the buy might help EV prices:
By buying the vehicles, GE is helping ramp up production, which should help lower the price of the vehicles. Hybrid gas-electric cars such as the Toyota Prius have become more common on the nation’s roads, but electric vehicles have been held back by the high cost and limited battery range.
GE’s muscle-flexing purchase strategy, if it works, could help EVs become more mainstream.