WASHINGTON - The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) has asked auto manufacturers to bid on supplying about 100 electric cars for federal government purchase, several news sources reported. The bid request is part of the Obama administration's plan to increase alternative-fuel vehicles used by federal agencies.

Of the 650,000 vehicles GSA operates, less than 2 percent are electric vehicles or electric hybrids. More than 11,000 vehicles are hybrids, including about 5,600 bought earlier this year.

According to GSA's strategic sustainability performance plan, released in September, GSA's motor vehicle fleet includes nearly 89,000 alternative-fuel vehicles. GSA plans to increase the alt-fuel fleet to approximately 98,000 vehicles. By FY 2015, GSA plans on increasing its consumption of alternative fuels by 159 percent over the FY 2005 baseline by increasing alt-fuel usage by 10 percent per year through FY 2015.

Automakers are submitting bids this month and GSA expects to award contracts by the end of the year for possible delivery next April or May, according to news sources. Ford and smaller manufacturers of electric cars are expected to bid. General Motors is considering the proposal, and Nissan does not intend to bid, citing strong consumer demand.

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