I would think the Leaf would have a definite lead over the Short Circuit
GE to buy 'tens of thousands' of electric cars
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- General Electric will order "tens of
thousands" of electric cars in about a week, the conglomerate's chief
executive said Friday.
In a speech in London, CEO Jeffrey Immelt said the purchase would be the
largest of its kind in history. But he did not specify exactly how many
vehicles GE would buy, nor what brand of electric cars would be included
in the order.
GE spokeswoman Leigh Farris said the company will release more details
on the order at a later date.
General Motors' Volt and Nissan's Leaf electric vehicles are due to hit
the market late this year. Ford, Toyota, Honda and Mitsubishi are also
expected to roll out battery-powered cars in the coming years.
Immelt disclosed the plan in a speech on business and sustainability at
the University of Cambridge, Bloomberg first reported on Friday. He said
half of GE's sales force will eventually drive electric vehicles.
"We've got to really inspire in business a clean energy future," Immelt
said in his speech. "Now is exactly the time, because it's less popular
and we're going to have to go for a while without the government at out
A big order from a global conglomerate like GE that makes products
ranging from jet engines to light bulbs could provide a significant
endorsement for electronic vehicles. But it remains to be seen how
quickly they will become part of the mainstream car culture.
Analysts at J.D. Power Associates predicted Wednesday that just 7.3% of
passenger vehicles sold globally will be hybrids or plug-in cars of some
kind over the next decade.
Sales will be higher in the United States, but the vast majority will be
"conventional" non-plug-in hybrids like the Toyota Prius or Ford Fusion
Hybrid, according to the study.
Michael Omotoso, an analysts at J.D. Power, said the GE order probably
would be the largest of its kind in the relatively short-history of
"There aren't more then a hand full of EVs on the road right now," he
said, adding that the Nissan Leaf is the only electric car currently
being mass produced.
Given the relatively small number of EVs expected to roll off the
assembly line in the coming years, GE will probably have to space out
its purchases over time, or order from multiple manufacturers.
Omotoso said analysts had been expecting fleet orders from big companies
and government agencies to give a short-term boost to sales of
electronic vehicles. "But over the long run, for the industry to
survive, they're going to have to rely more on retail sales," he said.
To get more consumers interested in electronic cars, he said there would
have to be a significant increase in gasoline prices, a big reduction in
the cost of lithium batteries or additional government tax breaks.
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