GM to Join EV Delivery Van Race?
The fledgling electric delivery van market is starting to get crowded.
General Motors plans to join the fray with a new model late next year, Reuters reports. Citing multiple supplier sources, the news agency says the van will share components—including GM’s new Ultium battery—with the upcoming electric pickups and crossover/SUVs GM is developing, including the GMC-badged Hummer utility truck.
GM declined to comment other than to reiterate its plans to transition to an all-electric future with flexible platforms that can be used for multiple body styles and vehicle segments. The company previously has said it will introduce at least 20 EVs globally by 2023.
Detroit Built, Branding Unclear
Codenamed BV1, the electric van is expected to be built at GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck plant. Earlier this year, GM announced plans to retool the factory for dedicated EV production, including the Hummer and Cruise Origin driverless shuttle.
Still up in the air is what brand the EV will be marketed under. In addition to GMC and Chevrolet, GM is said to be considering its Maven mobility unit and other nameplates.
GM also is developing EVs with Honda.
Currently, the U.S. commercial van market is a lucrative niche currently dominated by conventionally powered models made by GM, Ford and Mercedes.
But there is growing competition, including several EV startup companies. The list includes Rivian Automotive, a Plymouth, Mich.-based startup that last year won an order to supply 100,000 vans to Amazon. And Arrival, a British startup, has secured a 10,000-unit order from UPS.
Bollinger and Karma also are developing modular EV platforms for commercial vehicle applications. And Ford is plans to launch an electric variant of its Transit cargo van in 2022.
One notable absence from the field: Tesla. While the California-based EV leader is expanding into several new segments with its rugged Cybertruck and Semi heavy-duty long-hauler, it hasn’t publicly announced any plans for a delivery van.
This creates an opportunity for others to fill the void.
Honda is an engine company.
Chrysler pioneered the modern-day minivan more than 30 years ago and has been refining and improving that type of vehicle ever since.
From the point of view of structural engineering and assembly, electric vehicles are a whole lot simpler than those with internal combustion engines, which probably goes a long way to explain why there are so many startups showing EVs.