General Electric (NYSE: GE) will order "tens of thousands" of electric-powered vehicles in about a week, CEO Jeffrey Immelt said.

At a speech in London yesterday, Immelt said the company will place the "largest order in history" in the next week, although he did not confirm an exact figure or manufacturer.

Under the initiative, about half of GE's sales force would drive electric cars, leading to estimates that the company could purchase up to 23,000 vehicles -- a total that a single manufacturer would probably struggle to meet.

Several automakers are getting ready to sell EVs over the next 18 months. These include Nissan's (OTC BB: NSANY.PK) Leaf, Chevy's Volt, and Ford's (NYSE: F) Transit Connect delivery van and Focus.

Any boost in EV sales would add to GE's bottom line as it expands its clean-energy technology, including car chargers, said Gary Sheffer, a GE spokesman.

In September, GE and Better Place announced a partnership to accelerate the global deployment of an EV infrastructure, with one goal being to convert corporate fleets to electric vehicles. The partnership leverages GE's technology portfolio, smart-grid expertise, and WattStation electric-vehicle charger with Better Place's EV services and infrastructure solutions.

GE is investing $10 billion over the next five years in clean energy across its business lines, including power-transmission software and smart-grid technologies.  

International Business Times, The Global Business News Leader

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