GE's 'Largest Order in History' To Boost Electric-Car Market
Green Car Reports
October 29, 2010
by John Voelcker
General Electric, the conglomerate that produces everything from power-plant turbines to television shows, wants to jumpstart the electric-vehicle market.
To do that, said CEO Jeffrey Immelt yesterday in London, it will place the "largest order in history" for electric vehicles, numbering in the tens of thousands.
That order could come as soon as next week. It will likely be spread across mutliple manufacturers, since early production by General Motors and Nissan is limited, and will encompass not only passenger cars but also delivery trucks.
Immelt did not specify whether the order would be restricted to pure battery electric vehicles, or whether plug-in hybrids would be included as well.
There's some self-interest there, of course. Among other things, GE is the largest single shareholder in lithium-ion cell maker A123 Systems. A123 was one of two final contenders to provide cells for the 2011 Chevrolet Volt's battery pack, although it lost to Korea's LG Chem.
GE also makes electric charging stations, which it features prominently in U.S. television ads to buff its corporate image. And it sells equipment to the energy and electricity industries ranging from turbine generators for power plants to photovoltaic solar panels.
A GE spokesman told Bloomberg that for every dollar spent on an electric vehicle, the company might take in as much as 10 cents of revenue.
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