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G.E. and Ford in 2,000-hybrid car partnership

Two American industry giants – Ford Motor Company and General Electric – are joining forces to push for alternative fuel vehicle adoption.

G.E. will be purchasing 2,000 Ford C-Max Energi plug-in hybrids for its fleet. The industrial conglomerate aims to convert half of its global fleet, around 25,000 vehicles, to alternative fuel vehicles under its Ecomagination program.

The addition of the plug-in hybrids will bring G.E.’s current alternative fuel vehicle fleet to more than 5,000 vehicles. G.E. estimates that currently, these vehicles have seen approximately 18 million driving miles for emission reductions of approximately 12 million pounds and savings of about $2 million in gasoline costs.

For Ford, the 2,000 vehicles represent its largest-ever plug-in electrified vehicle fleet sale. C-MAX Energi is the United States’ most fuel-efficient plug-in hybrid, with an E.P.A.-estimated 108 miles per gallon equivalent city rating and 100 MPGe combined rating. It has an all-electric mode of around 21-miles per charge.

G.E. will begin integrating the Ford C-Max Energi into its fleet this month.

Additionally, G.E. and Ford will be collaborating with researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology to collect data and analyze the performance of the G.E. fleet to improve driving and charging performance.

"Understanding driving and charging habits is key to advancing vehicle and charging infrastructure," says Prof. Bert Bras of the Sustainable Design and 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."

As part of their partnership, Ford will also promote G.E.’s products for alternative fuel vehicles, the WattStation and CNG In A Box with their commercial customers. G.E.’s WattStation is a smart grid capable electric vehicle charger while the CNG In A Box is a fully integrated CNG fuelling supply system.

Ford will also be supplying new alternative fuel vehicles at G.E.’s Vehicle Innovation Center at the headquarters of G.E.’s fleet management business in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. At the center, G.E. customers can learn about and test-drive alternative fuel cars and trucks from a variety of manufacturers. The center already boosts a pure-electric Ford Focus.

“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 for U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service.

Aside from the C-Max Energi, Ford will be making the C-Max Hybrid, a hybrid utility vehicle, available this fall. To follow will be two sedans, a Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid and a Fusion Hybrid; five-seater Focus Electric; and a luxury sedan, the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid. – EcoSeed Staff

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