By Drew Johnson
Tuesday, Nov 20th, 2012 @ 9:34 am
 

General Electric has inked a contract with Ford to purchase 2,000 units of the automaker's all-new C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid. The sale marks Ford's largest-ever plug-in electrified vehicle fleet sale and promises to boost the automaker's understanding of how people use its plug-in vehicles.

GE has set the goal of converting half of its worldwide fleet to alternative fuel vehicles, with the C-Max Energi purchase representing a major step toward that accomplishment. Including the newly purchased C-Max Energi plug-ins, GE's alternative fuel vehicle count stands at more than 5,000. The company ultimately hopes to have 25,000 alternative fuel vehicles in its fleet.

"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 at GE, said. "The Ford C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid is a great addition to our expanding fleet of alternative fuel vehicles."

The purchase agreement also includes a partnership with Georgia Institute of Technology to study how GE employees drive and charge their C-Max Energi plug-in hybrids. Researchers will use Ford's MyFord Mobile app to gather real-time data about the 2,000 unit fleet.

"Understanding driving and charging habits is key to advancing vehicle and charging infrastructure," said 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."

In exchange for access to that data, Ford will promote GE's WattStation charging station to its commercial customers.