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GE Adds Natural-Gas Vehicles To Its Electric And Alternate-Fuels Fleet

Back in 2010, General Electric promised it would replace over half its fleet with electric and plug-in vehicles.

With planned orders for 25,000 plug-ins, it was quite some commitment–particularly at a time when only a handful of cars was available, and selling in very small numbers.

Three years on, and it appears that GE has started to include natural gas and propane-powered vehicles to its green tally.

But is it, as Bloomberg and other outlets are suggesting, a “detour”? Is GE backing down on its huge plug-in commitment? We’re not so sure.

Since making the commitment back in 2010, GE has added around 11,000 vehicles from General Motors and Ford to its fleet–most of which are plug-in vehicles.

It isn’t clear just how many vehicles “most” refers to, but GE’s employee fleet totals 30,000 vehicles, and another 65,000 go to fleet customers. Electric vehicles may only make up a small proportion of those, but the market is growing all the time–and GE still has a couple more years to meet its 25,000 target.

Variety is the spice of life

Then, there’s GE’s explanation for introducing natural gas vehicles.

“It’s the demand of our customers,” explains Deb Frodl, GE’s corporate fleet services strategy officer.

“There are so many technologies out there and our customers need a variety of technologies in their fleet today, not just one. We’re not picking winners and losers.”

Some customers require large pickups and other vehicles. Naturally, then, the current small selection of plug-in vehicles isn’t going to cover all bases.

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