PHOTO CAPTION: GE in Europe acquired Citroen C-zero electric cars.

GE Detouring From Electric Cars to CNG?

While continuing to buy plug-in vehicles, GE is also testing 300 Ford F-250 medium-duty pickups that use compressed natural gas and propane.

Published: 07-Jan-2013

General Electric's commitment to buy 25,000 electric autos, promoted as the largest ever when it was announced more than two years ago, is taking a detour.

The obstacle: Customers of GE’s corporate fleet-services unit wanted more options, said Deb Frodl, the division’s chief strategy officer. So GE has included natural gas-powered pickups and propane-fueled vehicles among about 11,000 autos -- mostly plug-in hybrids and electric cars -- already acquired from makers including Ford Motor Co. (F) and General Motors Co.

The shift at GE, whose 2010 pledge was hailed as a catalyst for bulk buying of electric vehicles, shows how businesses are struggling to balance greater fuel efficiency and reduced emissions against higher sticker prices, limited range and lingering doubts about still-infant technology.


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