Solar Energy USA

GE Makes Big Play With Electric Vehicles | Solar Energy USA Blog Archive

GE Makes Big Play With Electric Vehicles

Posted on Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012 at 11:04 pm by Solar Energy USA

Just how big is the future of electric vehicle (EV) transportation? General Electric, ranked the 6th largest firm in the U.S. by Fortune in 2011, is taking an aggressive position.  Around a year ago the billion-dollar company placed an order for 12,000 Chevy Volts, almost half of the company’s planned fleet of 25,000 electric cars. The Volts are now popping up all over the GE headquarters in Fairfield, Connecticut as employees take advantage of a program that reimburses personal expenses for electric vehicle charging station installations and the cost of refueling the hybrids with electric fuel. In fact, GE will not reimburse personal automotive expenses for employees who opt-out of the EV fleet program (and with expectations of gasoline approaching $4.50/gallon you can’t really blame them – transportation costs on plug-in cars are one-fifth to one-third the cost of strictly gasoline-burning cars).

GE manufacturers a plug-in charging station that can recharge an electric battery in one-third the time of the standard Level 1 charging station most new EVs come with when they are driven off the dealership lot. According to the firm Pike Research, in less than five years more than 1.5 million charging locations will be available in the United States, resulting in revenues of more than $4.3 billion for makers of electric vehicle charging equipment in just five years (a big increase from only $400 million in 2011).

You may remember from an earlier blog post that UPS operates a large fleet of vehicles powered by electricity and CNG (compressed natural gas). Mike Britt, director of fleet maintenance with UPS, noted that UPS is driven by both public sustainability goals as well as the desire to lead the way for others by example. Billy Malone, director of sanitation for Dekalb County, uses natural gas to power his fleet of sanitation trucks because it is both quieter than diesel-powered trucks and dramatically more fuel-efficient.

The takeaway is that electric vehicles and other alternative fuel vehicles like those that run on CNG will continue gaining more and more market share in the years to come.