GE Invests in the Future of Electric Cars

General Electric will invest $24 million dollars in two initiatives to bolster hybrid and electric car technology. The first is a $4 million commitment to Think, the Norwegian electric car maker formerly owned by Ford, to assist in the development of future products. “We see many important opportunities emerging from our new relationship with GE,” said Jan-Olaf Willums, CEO of Think. “This relationship will help Think, the manufacturer of the first highway-approved electric car in mass production, to stay at the forefront of electric vehicle technology.”

Think’s latest concept vehicle is the Ox, a five-seater electric car unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show this week. The Ox, approximately the size of a small SUV, promises a range of approximately 125 miles and a top speed of about 85 miles an hour. Production dates and price for the Ox concept have not been announced. Willums has hinted that a production vehicle similar to the Ox could be ready as soon as 2011.

GE’s larger investment of $20 million is aimed to support battery-maker A123 Systems. The company, based in Watertown, Mass, is currently developing high-energy lithium ion batteries to power future hybrids, plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles. Think has a supply agreement with A123, but in October 2007, named EnerDel as its preferred supplier of lithium batteries. “Our work with A123 and Think taps GE’s unique combination of venture capital, engineering, process and commercial expertise to help burgeoning, next-generation technology companies bring their innovative products to market,” said Kevin Walsh, managing director at GE Energy Financial Services.