GE confirms plans to buy 25,000 EVs, including Chevy Volt

GE announced today that it will purchase 25,000 EVs over the next few years, starting with an order for 12,000 GM-supplied EVs including the Volt.

A few weeks ago, General Electric's CEO let it slip that the giant conglomerate would purchase "tens of thousands" of electric cars. Now, the company says that it will order 25,000 EVs over the next handful of years as it replaces its current fleet.

The new vehicles will replace cars used by anyone from its sales staff to its technicians and it will lease corporate fleets to smaller companies through its GE Capital division. GE says that it hopes that the move will help kick start consumer sales of EVs.

"By electrifying our own fleet, we will accelerate the adoption curve, drive scale and move electric vehicles from anticipation to action," said GE CEO Jeff Immelt.

GE will commence its plans by purchasing 12,000 General Motors vehicles beginning next year with the Chevrolet Volt before expanding its fleet to other manufacturers as more offerings become available. GE did not name other models, but the upcoming Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i-MiEV seem like natural choices.

Of course, GE has more than just a casual interest in seeing EVs succeed. Earlier this week, its GE Industrial division unveiled a vehicle charging system dubbed WattStation that enables fast "level two" charging for commercial or home use. GE says the WattStation can charge a vehicle in 4-8 hours.

Boasting an industrial design by Yves Behar, the charging stations are expected to be deployed in urban areas soon. A separate home-oriented WattStation goes on sale next year.