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.

Toyota, Ford to work on gasoline-electric hybrids for trucks

DETROIT ― Toyota Motor Corp. and Ford Motor Co. will work together to develop gasoline-electric trucks and SUVs that will be ready for market by the end of the decade, the two companies said on Monday.

Ford and Toyota plan to collaborate on product development for the future rear-wheel drive hybrid vehicles as well as for telephone, Internet and entertainment systems.

Working as equal partners to develop hybrid SUVs and trucks will help each meet stringent U.S. federal fuel economy regulations, said Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s product development chief.

There are no plans for collaboration beyond rear-wheel drive hybrids and on-board phone, navigation and entertainment systems, Kuzak said.

Toyota has been the world leader in hybrids since it introduced the Prius sedan in 1997. It has since sold 3.3 million hybrid vehicles, led by the Prius.

Ford has been a leader in pickup trucks, which are predominantly sold in the United States and Canada. Its F-series pickup trucks have been the best-selling vehicle in the U.S. market since the 1970s.

The two companies will work on the details of a fuller agreement expected “sometime in 2012” that will lay out more specifically how they will collaborate, said Kuzak.

“We have a lot of details to work out with Ford before we can talk about our cooperation with Ford” more fully, said Takeshi Uchiyamada, Toyota’s vice president for research and development.

Costs and scope of the collaboration have not yet been worked out, Uchiyamada said, and he said it was too early to tell if one company may bear more of the costs.