Ford Motor Company and GE are entering an alternative fuel partnership that includes the purchase of 2,000 Ford C-Max Energi plug-in hybrids for the GE fleet and a collaboration with college researchers into driver habits with plug-in vehicles.
The deal brings to more than 5,000 the number of alternative fuel vehicles in the GE fleet. The company intends to eventually add 25,000 alt fuel vehicles to its fleet, according to a release from Ford.
The two companies will also 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. Researchers will use a Ford mobile phone application that tracks with real-time battery charge status and schedule the vehicle during off-hours when electricity costs tend to be lower, Ford said.
Study findings will be shared with commercial customers to help facilitate deployment of electric vehicles in more fleets, Ford said.
Ford will also promote GE-designed electric charging stations and CNG fueling stations too its commercial customers, and supply new alternative fuel vehicles for use at GE’s vehicle innovation center in Eden Prairie, Minn. The center provides GE’s commercial customers with an opportunity to learn about and test-drive alternative fuel cars and trucks from various manufacturers with GE technology experts on hand. Ford’s all-electric Focus is already in use at the center.