June 4, 2020
A new generation EV van is also coming from Ford. Photo Credit: Ford Motor Company
General Motors is developing an electric van aimed at business users, joining a growing list of carmakers planning EVs for the same segment which includes customers such as Amazon.com Inc. and United Parcel Service Inc., five people familiar with the plans told Reuters.
GM's plan to develop an electric van has not previously been reported. The automaker did not confirm the van, but has said it plans to introduce at least 20 new all-electric vehicles by 2023, in a variety of body styles including sedans, trucks and crossovers.
Suppliers familiar with such plans at GM and Ford told Reuters the Detroit automakers, which count trucks and commercial vehicles among their most profitable businesses, "don't want to leave the door open for Tesla" as they did in consumer passenger cars.
Scott Phillippi, UPS senior director of fleet maintenance and engineering, said the package delivery firm believes electric vans have the potential to disrupt the commercial market. "It's going to be similar to what the Model 3 has done for the consumer market," Phillippi said, referring to Tesla's small near-luxury electric sedan. "Now all of a sudden, we're off to the races."
The GM van – code-named BV1 – is due to start production in late 2021, the sources said. It is believed the BV1 van will share some components with GM's future electric pickups and SUVs, including the automaker's new Ultium advanced battery system. It is expected to be assembled alongside the electric trucks at GM's Detroit-Hamtramck plant.
GM is considering whether to offer the electric van through its traditional truck brands -- Chevrolet and GMC -- or market it under a different brand such as Maven, the sources said. GM's first electric pickup truck, due in late 2021, will be sold by GMC dealers under the Hummer brand.
In a statement, GM said it is "committed to an all-electric future and is implementing a multi-segment, scalable EV strategy to get there. At this time, we do not have any announcements to make regarding electric commercial vehicles."