General Electric (GE) will host an electric vehicle experience tour in seven U.S. cities that will bring GE experts together with local businesses, industry leaders, and public sector stakeholders for educational workshops, test drives, and dialogue on the business case for EV ecosystems.

Each day-long stop in cities along the tour will include presentations by GE and community leaders, workshops to help stakeholders with EV planning, deployment, and integration strategies, and test drives, the company said in a statement.

Our EV Experience Tour is an important way for us to engage communities across the United States in the discussion about the economic and environmental advantages of EV deployment, said Luis Ramirez, CEO, GE Energy Industrial Solutions said.

GE is working with GM, Ford, Toyota, Navistar, Smith Electric Vehicles, Mitsubishi, Coda, Smart, THINK and other organizations on the tour.

Scheduled Tour dates are:

    * San Francisco, March 10

    * Seattle, March 15

    * Los Angeles, March 17

    * San Diego, March 22

Additional EV Experience Tour dates will be announced in Austin, New York City and Washington, D.C. for spring 2011.

GE's EV Experience Tour and electric vehicle program are part of its ecomagination business strategy to accelerate the development and deployment of clean energy technology though innovation and R&D investment. In support of the tour, an electric vehicle readiness toolkit is available on ecomagination.com to help municipalities, customers, and individuals prepare for wide-scale electric vehicle deployment.

Earlier in October, the company had said that it will purchase tens of thousands of electric-powered vehicles, without disclosing the numbers.

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.

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

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