GE Buying 2,000 Ford Plug-In Hybrids

GE has agreed to purchase 2,000 Ford plug-in hybrid vehicles for its corporate fleet, according to an announcement by both companies on Tuesday.

GE will purchase the Ford C-Max Energi vehicle, while the automaker will in turn jointly market GE’s alternative fuel infrastructure technology, which includes charging stations and natural gas fueling stations, to its commercial buyers, reports The Chicago Tribune.

The largest US energy conglomerate has set a target to convert half of its global fleet into alternative fuel vehicles. With the addition from Ford, the number of those vehicles in their fleet is over 5,000. Their goal is 25,000.

The conglomerate’s Chief Executive Officer Jeff Immelt stated in May that people may be disappointed by GE’s slow adoption rate of electric vehicles, but that the company will continue to invest in battery technology as a show of support for their confidence in the product.

Electric vehicles usually cost more than their gas-powered vehicles of similar size. Their batteries are also expensive to replace. Sales of these kinds of cars have been fairly modest and below some experts initial expectations.

The New York Daily News notes that, along with purchasing 2,000 Ford hybrid vehicles, GE will also partner with the auto maker to work with researchers from Georgia Tech. They will study employees’ driving and charging habits.

The result of those studies will then be shared with other companies that are looking to add electric cars to their fleet. The Ford C-Max Energi went on sale in November. The car company states that the vehicle can go about 20 miles in all-electric mode before the gas engine kicks in.

The Ford plug-in hybrid sells for $30,000 after a federal tax credit. The US Environmental Protection Agency rates the car at 100 miles per gallon.