"GE backs electric cars — this time for keeps!"
General Electric bought a wind power company and a solar power company a while ago, and those two clean energy sectors have been soaring. Now GE has announced it is backing a Norwegian electric car manufacturer, TH!NK, which just unveiled a five-seat crossover concept car, the Ox, in Geneva:
[Note to TH!NK: Love the company's name, but not the car's. This thing goes 0 to 60 in under 8.5 seconds. It ain't an Ox.]
And GE announced it has invested in everybody’s darling lithium-ion battery company, A123, which will be supplying batteries to TH!NK.
GE is now A123′s largest cash investor, having put more than US $20 million into the company. In addition, GE disclosed it has invested US $4 million in Think Global, the Norwegian holding company that makes the electric cars.
So they haven’t bet the bank — but this money is about one quarter of the total investment in energy companies made by GE Energy Financial Services in the past 18 months. GE Global Research is also aggressively pursuing transportation electrification technologies, with DOE and other federal support:
GE’s research includes a US $5.6 million US Energy Department contract to develop smaller, lower cost, higher performing hybrid drivetrain motors for hybrid electric vehicles. In addition, GE is working on a US $1.2 million project to develop advanced high temperature, high energy density capacitors.
“Our researchers are improving energy storage and conversion technology as the key enabler of our founder Thomas Edison’s vision of electricity as a viable propulsion system for vehicles, ranging from automobiles to industrial vehicles and locomotives.”
Everything old is new again. I wouldn’t bet against GE this time.