GE is backing away from a plan it announced more than two years ago to buy 25,000 electric cars for its small army of fleet cars.
The company owns about 30,000 vehicles used by its own employees and about 1.4 million for its fleet customers.
“It’s the demand of our customers,” GE’s corporate fleet-services chief strategy officer Deb Frodl said to Bloomberg. “There are so many technologies out there and our customers need a variety of technologies in their fleet today, not just one. We’re not picking winners and losers.”
As much as Frodl says this isn’t an issue of “winners and losers,” it’s difficult to see it any other way. While electric cars might have seemed like a solution two years ago, lukewarm sales and questions about reliability shook that notion.
Now, the 25,000-vehicle figure is being perforated with other alternative fuel vehicles to better meet GE’s broad fleet needs. They include natural gas pickup trucks from Ford as well as plug-in hybrids from both it and Chevrolet.
“We’re delighted now that more automotive manufacturers come to market with new products for us to deploy,” Frodl said. “We’ve always globally multi-sourced the fleet. It was never the intention to be with just one automotive manufacturer.”
It’s true that two years ago there were far fewer options for highly efficient vehicles, but gas-burning cars have also become considerably more efficient and offer the allure of a proven platform.
Then there’s the range issue. Many GE employees drive their fleet vehicles more than 100 miles in a day, which the Chevrolet Volt and Ford C-Max can both handle, but the Nissan Leaf can’t.
[Source: Automotive News]
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