Vehicle tours, the de facto way of getting a new electric car in front of the people most likely to buy it, are pretty much an accepted stage in any electric car rollout from a major automaker.
So why is General Electric, a company which doesn’t even make an electric car embarking on its own evangelical nationwide tour tour to promote the benefits of driving electric? The answer is simple: by promoting electric vehicles it can also create a demand for its range of electric vehicle charging stations.
The multi-national conglomerate corporation which provides everything from financial services to entertainment brands and consumer appliances to energy infrastructure is planning a tour to encourage businesses to adopt electric vehicles.
GE WattStation Commercial - Screenshot
Joining GE on the tour will be plug-in vehicles made by a variety of automakers, including GM, Ford, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Coda, Smart and Think. Also present on the tour will be commercial electric vehicle firms Navistar and Smith Electric Vehicles.
Don’t kid yourself though: this isn’t just some altruistic venture on GE’s part to get businesses switched on to electric vehicle fleets - it’s a way to promote GE’s electric vehicle charging stations.
Announced last year as part of an ongoing preparation for electric cars, GE’s range of domestic and industrial electric vehicle charging solutions are what GE hopes will be found in every parking lot, freeway service station and truck compound in the country.
But in order to sell its infrastructure equipment, GE needs to make those responsible for purchasing them aware of the need by promoting the benefits of electric vehicles.
General Electric GE WattStation charging
Ultimately, that’s what the GE Electric Vehicle Experience is about: selling the virtues of electric vehicles and helping businesses around America decide to switch to electric. And if in the process they happen to decide to use GE’s industrial and domestic electric vehicle charging products then we’re sure GE would only be too happy to oblige.
We can’t fault GE on its business plan, or its tour. In fact, GE is probably the best suited company to promote the electric vehicle fleet. It has already committed to buying 25,000 electric vehicles for its own fleet by 2015 and isn’t some venture-funded startup company scrabbling for position in the electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) food chain.
Are there any conclusions to draw from this all?
Just like large automakers, large electronics firms are embracing electric vehicle technology.
And just like the battle between large automakers and small volume electric car firms, the EVSE winners will be the ones who can provide the highest quality product at the lowest price.
Let the race begin.[General Electric]