The center is being built on GE’s campus in Eden Prairie, Minn., and is scheduled to open in Spring 2012. GE is building the facility so its customers can experience electric cars and trucks from a variety of manufacturers first-hand and analyze vehicle performance, driver experiences, service requirements and operational efficiencies with GE fleet experts. The center will also eventually feature alternative fuel vehicles powered by other energy sources.
“At GE, we are committed to helping our customers incorporate electric vehicles and other alternative fuel technologies into their fleets,” said Clarence Nunn, president and CEO of GE Capital Fleet Services. “We’re looking forward to working closely with customers at our new center and sharing insights to help them improve environmental performance and reduce carbon emissions.”
GE’s center will be composed of four major components:
An education center featuring classrooms for presentations, training, and discovery workshops as well as interactive displays;
A solar carport and charging center that can charge up to 11 vehicles simultaneously;
An experience center and showroom to help customers evaluate vehicles in a variety of configurations;
A private half-mile driving course that will allow customers to experience a variety of cars and trucks in different driving conditions. GE will keep alternative fuel vehicles at the center on a permanent basis for customer use on the driving course.
“Electric vehicles have the potential to solve some of the world’s toughest transportation challenges, and the center we are building will be a tremendous resource as we continue to educate our customers about the benefits of this technology,” said Deb Frodl, chief strategy officer for GE Capital Fleet Services and global EV leader for GE.
GE’s portfolio of products and services touch every part of the EV infrastructure. The center will display many of GE’s end-to-end EV deployment solutions, from fleet management services, vehicle telematics tools and WattStation chargers to energy and infrastructure products that power the smart grid and serve local utilities.
“The city of Eden Prairie is thrilled that GE is building this world-class innovation center in our community,” said Eden Prairie Mayor Nancy Tyra-Lukens. “Electric vehicles promote clean energy and sustainability, and we are pleased that GE has chosen Eden Prairie as the home base for this important electric vehicle initiative.”
The center is part of GE’s broader ecomagination business strategy to accelerate the development and deployment of clean energy technology though innovation and R&D investment. GE Capital Fleet Services will run the center in collaboration with other GE businesses and GE energy and transportation experts around the world.