Last week, GE kicked off its EV Experience Tour in San Francisco, to "bring GE experts together with local businesses, industry leaders, and public sector stakeholders for educational workshops, test drives, and dialogue on the business case for EV ecosystems." The Yves Behar-designed GE WattStation EV charger was on display at the event in both mock-up and ice sculpture form. We spent some time chatting with Luis Ramirez, CEO of GE Energy Industrial Solutions, and Clarence Nunn, President and CEO of GE Capital Fleet Services about the future of EV charging. We discussed efforts like PlugShare and the recent addition to EV charging stations to Google Maps, concepts like smart parking spots with embedded inductive charging, as well as ways to accommodate folks without garages who park their vehicles on city streets. They both assured us that GE is committed to providing an EV charging infrastructure for all, starting with the installation of a bunch of WattStations in San Francisco soon -- though they didn't say exactly how "soon". In the meantime, remember that EV charging is always just an outlet away. Take a look at our gallery below and jump past the break for the press release.

GE kicks off EV Experience Tour

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GE ANNOUNCES NATIONAL ELECTRIC VEHICLE EXPERIENCE TOUR TO ENGAGE KEY STAKEHOLDERS ON EV DEPLOYMENT STRATEGIES

Plainville, CT – March 3, 2011 –GE (NYSE: GE) announced today it will host an electric vehicle experience tour in seven U.S. cities that will bring GE experts together with local businesses, industry leaders, and public sector stakeholders for educational workshops, test drives, and dialogue on the business case for EV ecosystems.

GE has already committed to purchase 25,000 EVs by 2015 for its own fleet and for fleet customers. It owns one of the world's largest vehicle fleets, operates a leading global fleet management business, and offers a portfolio of product solutions including charging stations, circuit protection equipment and transformers that touch every part of electric vehicle infrastructure development. The company is hosting the EV Experience Tour to help other businesses and key stakeholders understand technical and business approaches for deploying pure electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

Each day-long stop in cities along the tour will include presentations by GE and community leaders, workshops to help stakeholders with EV planning, deployment, and integration strategies, and test drives.

Scheduled Tour dates are:
  • San Francisco, March 10
  • Seattle, March 15
  • Los Angeles, March 17
  • San Diego, March 22
Additional EV Experience Tour dates will be announced in Austin, New York City, and Washington, D.C. for Spring 2011.

"GE is playing a leadership role in the transformation to smarter transportation solutions and a smarter electrical grid," said Luis Ramirez, CEO, GE Energy Industrial Solutions. "Our EV Experience Tour is an important way for us to engage communities across the United States in the discussion about the economic and environmental advantages of EV deployment."

GE is working with GM, Ford, Toyota, Navistar, Smith Electric Vehicles, Mitsubishi, Coda, Smart, THINK and other organizations on the tour.

"We're committed to helping our customers learn what electric vehicles can do for their organizations," said Clarence Nunn, President and CEO of GE Capital Fleet Services. "Each of our tour stops will give participants first-hand exposure to the technical and business considerations for EV deployment and put them on a path toward adoption."

GE's EV Experience Tour and electric vehicle program are part of its ecomagination business strategy to accelerate the development and deployment of clean energy technology though innovation and R&D investment. In support of the tour, an electric vehicle readiness toolkit is available on ecomagination.com to help municipalities, customers, and individuals prepare for wide-scale electric vehicle deployment.

About GE Energy
Helping to lead the future of electrification around the globe, GE Energy's Industrial Solutions division (www.geindustrial.com) seeks to forge strong relationships with its customers, identifies challenges then solves them, and invests in innovative technologies that help create a cleaner, smarter and more efficient electrical infrastructure. Operating in more than 60 countries, our dedicated teams manufacture and service electrical distribution, control systems and motor products for industrial facilities. Recent innovations include EntelliGuard® circuit breakers, Pegasus® induction motors, the Arc VaultTM protection system, and WattStationTM electric vehicle charging stations.

About GE Capital Fleet Services
GE Capital Fleet Services is a global fleet management company with operations in the United States, Canada, Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. Visit the Web site at www.gefleet.com or follow company news via Twitter (@GEFleetSvcs).

GE Capital offers consumers and businesses around the globe an array of financial products and services. For more information, visit www.gecapital.com or follow company news via Twitter (@GECapital). GE (NYSE: GE) is an advanced technology, services and finance company taking on the world's toughest challenges. Dedicated to innovation in energy, health, transportation and infrastructure, GE operates in more than 100 countries and employs about 300,000 people worldwide. For more information, visit the company's Web site at www.ge.com.

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GE kicks off EV Experience Tour, promises WattStations for all