July 12, 2011
by Emily Atkins
Fleet managers came from far and wide to attend the GE Capital Fleet Services 2011 Ride ‘N’ Drive event on July 7th in Mississauga.
A parking lot full of the latest models from all the major car makers waited, sparkling in the sun as the fleet managers gathered first indoors to learn about the latest in electric vehicles technology and adoption.
GE Capital Fleet Services chief strategic officer Deb Frodl delivered a keynote on GE’s EV strategy and why GE believes the EV is ready for a breakthrough. There are three main reasons for the EV’s imminent success, Frodl said.
First, they promote economic stability for the companies using them. As oil prices increase, the savings from using EVs increase, making their adoption a good risk mitigation strategy.
Click here for a gallery of photos from the event.
Second, they are a key part of the drive to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. With increasing regulation in this area and eco-conscious consumers opting for the greener option, EVs offer a solution that satisfies both trends.
Third, the burgeoning EV market is offering the companies developing them a chance to create a competitive edge. Innovations in design, materials, software and manufacturing processes are creating new business opportunities. The rapid development of charging technologies is one example Frodl cited.
GE itself has committed to having 25,000 EVs by 2015. According to Frodl, more than 100 new EVs wil be coming to market in the next 24 to 36 months.
Chris Gittens, GE Capital Fleet Services commercial leader told the audience about a survey of fleet managers the company is currently conducting. Preliminary results indicate that more than 75 percent of fleet managers think they will have electric vehicles in their fleet within the next five years. Full survey results will be available in the next few months.
At the ride and drive event there were several EVs to test, along with an operational charging station. Fleet managers were eager to try the Toyota Prius v, Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt, Navistar eStar, Mitsubishi i-Miev, Ford Transit BEV, Ford Focus BEV and the Mercedes-Benz Smart fortwo EV.
The event was sponsored by Ford, with GM as keynote sponsor, BMW the refreshments and music sponsor and Nissan as the lunch sponsor.