- reuters reports that gm is working on an commercial electric van, code-named bv1.
- if true, gm would be joining startups rivian and arrival in the electric-delivery-van market, but gm told c/d that it has nothing to announce at this time.
- the vehicle would likely be built using gm’s ultium battery platform which, according to gm, should have pricing parity with gas vehicles in a few years.
the ev focus tends to be on the rise of electrified passenger vehicles. but the low fuel cost, reduced maintenance, and high torque also make an electric powertrain ideal for deliveries. it's enough for amazon- and ford-backed rivian and hyundai-backed startup arrival to bet on the market. now, according to a reuters report, gm is also joining the fray.
reuters reports that it spoke to five sources familiar with gm’s plan to electrify a van. internally the vehicle is code-named bv1, and it's expected to go into production at the detroit-hamtramck plant in late 2021, the news service reports. the vehicle will use the automaker's new ultium battery technology that could potentially remove one of the biggest hurdles against evs being used commercially, and that's the purchase price.
electric vehicles might be cheaper to fuel and maintain, but the initial cost is still a hurdle for some, especially delivery companies that are dealing with razor-thin profit margins already. that's where gm's ultium comes in. the automaker says that its next-generation battery technology will bring down cost of a battery to $100 per kilowatt-hour. according to bloomberg analysts, the average 2019 cost per kilowatt-hour was $156. if that number can be brought down to $100, it would essential mean an ev would cost the same as a comparable gasoline-powered vehicle. and that would be a big deal for passenger vehicles and even bigger for those looking to purchase an electric vehicle for business use.
general motors told car and driver that it "is committed to an all-electric future and is implementing a multi-segment, scalable ev strategy to get there." the automaker also said, "at this time, we do not have any announcements to make regarding electric commercial vehicles."
if the reuters report is borne out, gm would be joining ev startups arrival and rivian. the latter has garnered backing from ford and, more important for the delivery sector, amazon. the retail giant has ordered 100,000 rivian electric delivery vans for deployment by 2030, and it plans to have 10,000 of those on the road as early as 2022. but amazon isn't the only game in town, and plenty of other companies need delivery vans. in a few years, some of those enterprises might be sending packages in an electric gm van.