General Electric plans to purchase 2,000 Ford C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrids in what is described as the largest-ever plug-in electrified vehicle fleet sale.
The move is part of GE’s commitment to convert half of its global fleet to alternative fuel vehicles. The maker has also said it will purchase Chevrolet Volt plug-ins as part of that switch the battery power and other cleaner technologies.
“At GE, we are focused on providing our customers and our fleet with more economically and environmentally efficient vehicles,” Mark Vachon, vice president of ecomagination, said. “The Ford C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid is a great addition to our expanding fleet of alternative fuel vehicles.”
Ford claims the C-MAX Energi is America’s most fuel-efficient plug-in hybrid with a 108 MPGe city rating from the Environmental Protection Agency and a 620-mile single-tank range. That apparently appealed to GE since the vehicles will be used by the giant conglomerate’s sales and service professionals – many who drive more mileage daily than average commuters.
As part of the deal, Ford will promote GE’s WattStation charging station and CNG in a Box natural gas fueling station with its commercial buyers. Ford will also supply new alternative fuel vehicles for use at GE’s Vehicle Innovation Center.
For GE, the purchase of 2,000 Ford C-MAX Energi vehicles is another step in the company’s initiative to convert half of its global fleet to alternative fuel vehicles as part of its commitment to what it has dubbed “ecomagination.”
Ecomagination represents GE’s commitment to providing innovative solutions that maximize resources, drive economic performance and help make the world work better, Vachon explained.
The addition of the Ford vehicles brings the number of alternative fuel vehicles in GE’s fleet to more than 5,000 in its goal of 25,000 vehicles.
The C-Max Energi – along with the Fusion Energi plug-in using the same basic drivetrain – will make its public debut at the LA Auto Show later this month. It is part of a broader campaign by Ford to invest in alternative power technologies.
“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,” says Ken Czubay, Ford vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and 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 companies will also work with researchers from Georgia Institute of Technology to study GE employee driving and charging habits, with the goal of improving all-electric driving and charging performance. Researchers will use Ford’s MyFord Mobile app – with real-time battery charge status and value charging that automatically recharges at lower-cost, off-peak electricity rates.
“Understanding driving and charging habits is key to advancing vehicle and charging infrastructure,” says Professor Bert Bras of the Sustainable Design & Manufacturing laboratory at Georgia Tech. “Through access to vehicle data, we can accelerate research and development of new technologies to further improve efficiency, driver satisfaction and environmental benefits.”
Study findings will be shared with commercial customers to provide insights and help facilitate deployment of electric vehicles in their own fleets amid a growing electric vehicle infrastructure that now includes more than 10,000 public charging stations across the country.
Czubay says with many Americans facing record gasoline prices, Ford is committed to deliver eight vehicles by year-end that deliver 40 mpg or more. It plans to add still more in 2013, including a new version of the Fiesta subcompact using a 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine Ford claims will be the highest-mileage non-hybrid offering in the U.S. market.
(For more on the new Ford 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine, Click Here.)
The all-new Ford C-MAX Energi is America’s most fuel-efficient plug-in hybrid with an EPA-estimated 108 miles-per-gallon equivalent (MPGe) city rating and 100 MPGe combined rating. C-MAX Energi is expected to be America’s most affordable plug-in hybrid with a starting price of $29,995, after a federal tax credit of $7,500, and including destination and delivery costs.
The C-MAX Energi joins the C-MAX Hybrid as part of Ford’s first hybrid-only dedicated line of vehicles. The maker is hoping that it can use the new line of “people-movers” to challenge Toyota’s traditional dominance of the hybrid market with its Prius family.