GE to buy 2,000 Ford plug-in hybrid vehicles

FAIRFIELD, Conn., Tue Nov 20, 2012 – General Electric Co. will buy 2,000 plug-in hybrid vehicles made by Ford Motor Co. for its corporate fleet, the companies said on Tuesday.

As part of the deal for the Ford C-Max Energi vehicles, the automaker said it would jointly market GE’s alternative fuel infrastructure technology, including charging stations and natural gas fueling stations, to its commercial buyers.

The agreement is Ford’s largest plug-in electrified vehicle fleet sale to date.

GE, the largest U.S. conglomerate, has set a target to convert half of its global fleet to alternative fuel vehicles. The purchase from Ford brings the number of such vehicles in GE’s fleet to more than 5,000, compared with its goal of 25,000.

In May, GE CEO Jeff Immelt said people might be disappointed in the adoption rate of electric vehicles, but his company would continue investing in battery technology to reflect its confidence in them.

Electric vehicles carry an expensive battery and typically cost more than a conventional vehicle of similar size. Sales of such vehicles thus far have been modest and below some initial expectations.

GE and Ford also said they would work with researchers from Georgia Institute of Technology to study GE employee driving and charging habits, with the goal of improving all-electric driving and charging performance.

Study findings will be shared with commercial customers to provide insights and help facilitate deployment of electric vehicles in their own fleets.

The C-Max Energi, which sells for nearly $30,000 after a federal tax credit, went on sale last month. It can drive about 21 miles in all-electric mode before a gas engine kicks in and gets the equivalent of 100 miles per gallon as rated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Chrysler’s new Viper starts at just under $100,000

DETROIT, Tue Sep 11, 2012 – The redesigned 2013 SRT Viper goes on sale in mid-November priced from just under $100,000, making it the most expensive car in Chrysler’s U.S. lineup.

The first Vipers off the assembly line in Detroit will be coupes. The original Viper, introduced in early 1992, was a two-passenger convertible. Asked if Chrysler has plans to add a Viper roadster to the new lineup, a company spokesman said, “Nothing yet.”

The standard Viper will start at $99,390, while the uplevel Viper GTS will be priced from $122,390. Both stickers include a $1,995 shipping charge.

The relaunch of the Viper sports car, which has been absent from the market for two years, is another signal of Chrysler’s resurgence under corporate parent Fiat SpA, which took control of the No. 3 U.S. automaker after its 2009 bankruptcy.

Chrysler said the first Vipers should be delivered to customers in December.

The Viper’s nearest domestic competitor is General Motors Co.’s Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, which has a base sticker of $113,575, including shipping and a federal gas-guzzler tax. Chrysler said Viper will have a gas-guzzler tax, but prices do not yet reflect the tax because official EPA fuel-economy numbers have not been released for the car.

The new Viper features one of the largest engines available in a U.S. production car — an 8.4-liter V10 rated at 640 horsepower. The Corvette ZR1 has a 6.2-liter V8 that delivers 638 horsepower.

The last Viper was sold by Chrysler under the Dodge brand as a 2010 model. The latest edition, which carries the SRT brand, was unveiled earlier this year at the New York auto show.