By Anthony Capkun
November 20, 2012 – GE announced it will purchase 2000 new Ford C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrids for its fleet. As part of this GE/Ford collaboration, Ford will jointly market GE’s alternative fuel infrastructure solutions to commercial customers and provide new alternative-fuel vehicles for use at GE’s Vehicle Innovation Center.
GE says the purchase of the vehicles is another step in its commitment to converting half of its global fleet to alternative-fuel vehicles as part of its commitment to ecomagination. The addition of the Ford vehicles brings the number of alternative-fuel vehicles in GE’s fleet to more than 5000 (the ultimate goal is 25,000 vehicles). To date, GE employees have driven about 18 million miles in the company’s alternative-fuel vehicles, saving about $2 million in gasoline costs.
As part of the collaboration, Ford will promote GE’s WattStation charging station, which uses smart grid technology and comes with an app that helps customers more easily locate vehicle electricity sources.
“Ford is launching six new electrified vehicles—a big bet that fuel prices will continue rising and lead to more demand for advanced fuel-efficient vehicles,” said Ken Czubay, Ford VP U.S. marketing, sales & service. “We are pleased to partner with GE, a company that is charting a similar course, to promote advanced technology and energy savings.”
The two will also collaborate with researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology on data collection and analysis on GE’s fleet to “add even greater efficiencies to electric driving and charging”.
“Understanding driving and charging habits is key to advancing vehicle and charging infrastructure,” said Professor Bert Bras of the Sustainable Design & Manufacturing laboratory at Georgia Tech. “Through access to vehicle data, we can accelerate R&D of new technologies to further improve efficiency, driver satisfaction and environmental benefits.”