* Immelt committed to long term development of EVs
* Cost, infrastructure remain challenges
* GE supplies about 10 pct of content on electric vehicles
By John D. Stoll
DETROIT, April 24 General Electric Co
Chief Executive Jeff Immelt said people "may be disappointed in
the adoption of the electric vehicle" but his company will
continue investing in battery technology in hopes of an eventual
Speaking during an automotive conference in Detroit on
Tuesday, Immelt -- whose company is a key supplier to automakers
producing electric cars -- said GE is "committed to long term
development" of alternative-fuel vehicles. The executive
shrugged off the perception that electric cars are just
novelties and said the industry needs to find solutions to cost
and infrastructure challenges.
GE, after all, has a lot riding on the success of
"For every dollar invested in electric vehicles GE has 10
cents of content," he said. "We're just going to hang on the
Several car companies, including General Motors Co,
Nissan Motor Co, Toyota Motor Corp, Ford Motor
Co and Tesla Motors Inc, have in recent years
introduced cars that run partially or entirely on electric
Electric vehicles carry an expensive battery and typically
cost more than a conventional vehicle of similar size. Sales of
such vehicles have thus far been modest, and below some initial
"You never can tell when this will reach a tipping point...a
lot has to happen in order for this to take place," Immelt said.
Immelt said that GE executives share a Chevrolet Volt at
the company's headquarters, and said driving the vehicle is an
However, "the near term challenge is going to be all about
cost" and infrastructure.
Immelt is convinced the market for electric vehicles will
not remain a small niche. Immelt said that GE does not invest in
technologies simply because they are popular trends.
"Novelties don't work in business," he said.