[ad#post_ad]A number of important GM related news items recently broke that are worth recognizing.
General Electric Commits to Deploying 25,000 Electric Cars
The first was an announcement from General Electric that the company plans to deploy 25,000 electric cars into its global fleet by 2015.

It will acheive this goal both by converting half of its global fleet of 30,000 cars to electric and by purchasing electric cars from autmotkers.

Its initial purchase will be 12,000 Chevrolet Volts from GM. Cars from other automakers will be added as they become available.

“Electric vehicle technology is real and ready for deployment and we are embracing the transformation with partners like GM and our fleet customers,” said GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt. “By electrifying our own fleet, we will accelerate the adoption curve, drive scale, and move electric vehicles from anticipation to action.

GM CEO Dan Akerson said, “GE’s commitment reflects confidence that electric vehicles are a real-world technology that can reduce both emissions and our dependence on oil. It is also a vote of confidence in the Chevrolet Volt, which we will begin delivering to retail customers by the end of this year. We are pleased that the Volt will play a major role in this program, which will spur innovation and benefit our companies, our customers, and society as a whole.”

Dont worry about GE taking all the Volts away from consumers. "It's between now and 2015," says GM spokesperson Rob Peterson. "So the volumes are manageable."

Cruze Eco Officially Gets 42 MPG Highway

GM also announced that its Chevrolet Cruze Eco model had been given an official fuel economy designation by the EPA. The $18,995 sedan received an impressive 42 MPG on the highway, and 28 MPG city, the highest of any non-hybrid vehilce on the roads.  These impressive numbers are only for the manual transmission.

GM points out this compact car's fuel economy is better than the Ford Fiesta sub-compact, the Honda Civic, and hybrids including the Ford Fusion, Toyota Camry, and Nissan Altima hybrids.

The Cruze Eco achieves its success though a combination of aerodynamics tweaks similar to the Volt that give it a CD of .298.  It is also mass optimized and uses the efficient 1.4 L turbo Ecotec 4-cylinder engine which can produce up to 138 horsepower.

“Chevrolet Cruze continues to redefine the compact segment, offering class-leading standard safety features, upscale amenities – as well as hybrid-like fuel economy without the price,” said Chuck Russell, vehicle line director. “The Cruze Eco is in a league of its own and will challenge perceptions of the efficiency available in a more affordable non-hybrid.”

Opel Ampera Pricing Released

Finally GM announced pricing on the European version of the Chevrolet Volt known as the Opel Ampera.  The car is identical from an engineering perspective though exterior design as mildly different, and tailored to the Opel brand and the European market.

Unfortunately for them, our European brethren will have to fork up quite a few Euros for the pleasure of Voltec-based driving.  The car will start at 45,900 Euros which translates to almost $59,000 dollars.  There is a 19% value added tax (VAT) in Germany which brings the cost to 36,050 Euros or about $49,000.

Online reservations started on Thursday on opel-ampera.com.

Living with the Volt Update

In my second day of driving the Volt, my love for the car grew stronger.  It's really an amazing car.   Solid, sleek, satisfying and brimming with technology and real-time connectedness.

I began the day with a charged battery reading 36 miles of EV range.  I reached my first destination 22.7 miles away with 15 miles shown remaining.  My office was another 7.5 miles and I got there with 7 miles EV range remaining.  I was able to charge at 120-v at my office from 9:30AM to 5:00 PM and when I left for home, 33 miles of EV range remained.  I made it home for a total daily drive of 59.3 miles with 4 miles of range left, and never burned any gas.

Thus for my first two days in total I drove 122.8 miles using .32 gallons of gas, or384 MPG.

DON'T MISS the NJ Volt Meetup with myself and three other CAB members and our Volts. It will be on Sat 11-13 at 11AM here:

Nauna's Bella Casa
148 Valley Road
Montclair, NJ 07042