General Electric Co. will acquire 2,000 Ford C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid vehicles from Ford Motor Co. for its corporate fleet. As part of the agreement for the C-Max Energi vehicles, Ford disclosed it would jointly market GE's alternative fuel infrastructure technology, including natural gas fueling stations charging stations, to its commercial consumers.
The agreement with GE represents Ford's biggest plug-in electrified vehicle fleet sale to date. GE has set a target to convert half of its global fleet to alternative fuel vehicles. Following the purchase of 2,000 Ford C-Max Energis from Ford, GE’s alternative fuel vehicles now numbers more than 5,000, which is still a long way before GE could reach its target of 25,000 units.
In May 2012, GE chief executive Jeff Immelt said people might be disappointed in the adoption rate of electric vehicles, noting that his company would continue to invest in battery technology to underscore its confidence in them. Electric vehicles typically have an expensive battery and usually cost more than a standard vehicle of similar size.
Sales of electric vehicles have been modest and have fallen below some initial expectations. Ford and GE are cooperating with researchers from Georgia Institute of Technology to study the driving and charging habits of GE employees, with the goal of improving all-electric driving and charging performance. Study results will be shared with commercial customers to provide insights as well as expedite the deployment of electric vehicles in their own fleets.
Ford commenced selling the C-Max Energi in October with a starting price of almost $30,000 after a federal tax credit. The Ford C-Max Energi can travel around 21 miles in all-electric mode before the power is shifted to a gas engine, allowing it to return an equivalent of 100 miles per gallon as rated by the US Environmental Protection Agency.
“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.” Mark Vachon, vice president of ecomagination at GE, says, “At GE, 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.”
Establishing new records in fuel efficiency for 2012, Ford launched two of the most innovative hybrid cars: the C-MAX Energi and the C-MAX Hybrid.
With an overall driving range of 500 miles and in electric mode, the Ford C-MAX Energi has the capability to provide a more impressive fuel economy rating than the plug-in hybrid Toyota Prius and the Chevrolet Volt. The latest C-MAX Hybrid, on the other hand, has a better fuel economy compared to the Toyota Prius V. These two cars are developed with Ford’s newest generation of powersplit technology to operate the models in electric mode with greater speeds compared to other hybrids.
According to the company’s Engineering and Electrification Programs director Sherif Maraby, the C-MAX is the best vehicle for the modern times since it integrates the desired qualities and dynamics of the traditional car with the superior fuel efficiency and MAV’s versatility that even Toyota can’t deliver.
Consistent with the brand’s commitment to offer its clients with more efficiency-optimized options, Ford featured an exclusive lineup of 2012 models with 40 mpg fuel efficiency or more. Such a lineup is led and headlined by the C-MAX hybrid cars.
The electrification plan of Ford requires the company to maximize and triple its capacity to produce electric vehicles by 2013. The C-MAX models are among the electric cars that Ford is set to market in 2012 in North America. These will be manufactured on the international C-segment platform.