General Electric is moving away from a plan unveiled two years ago to purchase buy 25,000 electric cars for its small army of fleet cars. Instead, it is considering other alternative fuel vehicles to better cope with the wide fleet requirements of GE. GE presently owns around 30,000 vehicles used by its own workers while around 1.4 million are for its fleet customers.
When interviewed by Bloomberg, GE’s corporate fleet-services chief strategy officer Deb Frodl said that it depends on the demand of its customers. Frodl explained that it’s not about choosing “winners and losers;” instead, it’s to cope with the various technologies available to suit different needs.
Nevertheless, it can’t be denied that electric cars have somewhat lost their popularity. GE is considering Ford’s natural gas pickup trucks and plug-in hybrids as well as Chevrolet’s hybrids. Frodl added that GE never meant to pick only one manufacturer since it has always “globally multi-sourced the fleet.”
Two years ago, there were limited options for efficient vehicles but now, even cars that run on gas have become highly efficient. He also said that range continues to be an issue. Many GE employees need to drive their fleet vehicles more than 100 miles daily. The Chevrolet Volt and Ford C-Max can accommodate this distance but the Nissan Leaf can’t.
Chevrolet Volt’s defining feature is the Voltec propulsion system. This allows the Volt to get a total range of at most 350 miles and this is because of the efficient engine, which helps extend range, mated to the all-electric drive unit. The battery of the Volt was made in order to be able to offer durability, reliability, and performance. It also delivers in terms of quality, safety, and of course, value.
Making this even more enticing is that the battery has a 100,000-mile/8-year warranty. Manufactured at a facility located in Brownstown Township, Michigan, this long-life battery comes in a T-shape having a weight of 435 lbs. (198.1 kg) and length of 5.5 feet. The 16-kWh lithium-ion battery is the one that generates the energy needed by the electric drive, which allows it to have that output of 149 hp (111 kW).
Utilizing solely the energy kept in the battery, the Volt can go from 25 miles to up to 50 miles. Its range is dependent on factors like temperature, driving techniques, and the terrain. GM Executive Director for Global Electrical Systems Micky Bly said that customers have long said that they are committed to technology that will lower dependence when it comes to petroleum.
Because of this, he continued, the company is making a guarantee to deliver the highest of standards to customers as it relates to performance, quality, reliability, safety, and value. Engineers at GM have been conducting validation testing on the battery packs of the Volt since 2007. About 4 million hours and at least 1 million miles of testing have been completed.
Testing covered the nine modules of the battery packs and the 288 prismatic cells of each module. Three different teams -- spanning development, validation, and tests -- were able to meet the thousands of specifications. They were even able to validate each of the 161 components, where 95% were engineered and designed by GM.