Facing reality can be tough, even for big companies such as General Electric [GE]. Electric vehicles [EV] may not make sense for a lot of people, such as those who commute long distances and transport heavy loads. Additionally, EVs and charging stations are typically more expensive than their gasoline-powered counterparts. Many consumers find it difficult to justify, or even come up with, the extra expense, even though they can save thousands on future refueling.
General Electric, of course, has the capital to invest in EVs and charging stations, and had originally planned to replace its entire fleet with electrified vehicles, up to 25,000 of these being pure EVs. GE has already purchased thousands of Chevy Volt extended-range EVs and plans on buying 2,000 Ford C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid electric vehicles [PHEV].
Now, GE is making the same realizations that many consumers have, that EVs don’t make sense in every situation. For example, a Chevy Volt can’t really replace a diesel-powered work van. For now, the 25,000 EV goal is on the back burner, but that doesn’t mean that GE is giving up on alternative fuels.
Currently, GE has a fleet of about 30,000 vehicles, a few thousand of which are already hybrid electric vehicles and PHEVs, and is working to replace the rest with a mixture of electrified alternatives and vehicles running propane and natural gas. GE also manages some 1.4 million leased vehicles, which will also get the same mixture of alternatives. Electric vehicles will still play some part in GE’s transportation plans going forward, only not on a scale previously envisioned.