red chevy volt front three-quarter

True belief or wishful thinking?

That's the question some may ask about General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt and his statement that electric vehicles will become more than a just niche market in the U.S.

Immelt, speaking at a Detroit automotive conference on Tuesday, said GE will continue to invest in battery-electric vehicle technology with the belief that lower costs and improved performance will allow EVs to reach "a tipping point," Reuters reported. Immelt stressed the fact that GE's decision was based on his belief in what will be a substantial market, adding that "novelties don't work."

Last year, electric-drive vehicles such as the Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in and Nissan Leaf battery-electric accounted for less than one in 500 new cars sold. By comparison, hybrids account for about one in 50 new cars sold.

GE was an early supporter of electric-drive vehicles, agreeing in November 2010 to order 12,000 Volts and work with its fleet customers to purchase 10,000 more electric-drive vehicles by 2015. GE said at the time that electric-drive vehicle adoption could create $500 million in revenue for the company during the ensuing three years.