GE announced a collaboration with Ford Motor Co. in which the company will purchase 2,000 new Ford C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrids for its fleet. As part of the collaboration, Ford will jointly market GE's alternative fuel infrastructure solutions to commercial customers and provide new alternative fuel vehicles for use at GE's Vehicle Innovation Center.
The two companies will also collaborate with researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology on data collection and analysis on GE's fleet in order to add even greater efficiencies to electric driving and charging.
For GE, the purchase of the 2,000 Ford C-MAX Energi vehicles is another step in the company's commitment to converting half of its global fleet to alternative fuel vehicles as part of its commitment to ecomagination. The addition of the Ford vehicles brings the number of alternative fuel vehicles in GE's fleet to more than 5,000 toward its goal of 25,000 vehicles. To date, GE employees have driven approximately 18 million miles in the company's alternative fuel vehicles, saving about $2 million in gasoline costs and reducing CO2 emissions by approximately 12 million lbs.
Mark Vachon, GE Vice President of ecomagination, said, "We are focused on providing our customers and our fleet with more economically and environmentally efficient vehicles. The Ford C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid is a great addition to our expanding fleet of alternative fuel vehicles."
The Ford C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid provides a 21-mile electric-only range, a 108-mpg city EPA rating and a 620-mile single-tank driving range. GE will begin integrating the Ford C-Max Energi into its fleet this month.
"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."
As part of the collaboration, Ford will promote GE's WattStation charging station and CNG in a Box natural gas fueling station with its commercial customers. GE's WattStation is an easy to use electric vehicle (EV) charger that significantly decreases the time needed for vehicle charging. The WattStation uses smart grid technology and comes with an app that helps customers more easily locate vehicle electricity sources. GE's ecomagination qualified CNG In A Box is a fully-integrated CNG fueling supply system offering cost-effective plug and play simplicity for fleet and retail fueling stations seeking to offer CNG fuel.
Ford also will supply new alternative fuel vehicles for use at GE's Vehicle Innovation Center at the headquarters of GE's fleet management business in Eden Prairie, Minn. The Vehicle Innovation Center gives GE's commercial customers the opportunity to learn about and test drive alternative fuel cars and trucks in a single location with assistance from GE's fleet, transportation, energy and advanced technology experts. Ford already has placed its pure electric Focus at the center.
The two companies will also work with researchers at Georgia Tech 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 the deployment of electric vehicles in their own fleets amid a growing EV infrastructure that now includes more than 10,000 public charging stations across the country.