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GM starts electric van program said to aim to ‘beat Tesla to the segment’

GM has reportedly started an electric van program with the aim to beat Tesla to the segment, which the automaker has yet to electrify.

According to a new report from Reuters, GM is planning a new commercial electric van:

General Motors Co 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 Inc and United Parcel Service Inc, five people familiar with the plans told Reuters.

The publication specifically reported that the aim is to beat Tesla to the market:

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.

Tesla has yet to announce a commercial electric van.

The California-based automaker has electrified several segments and it has plans to enter the commercial vehicle space with the Tesla Semi, but it has let others electrify the delivery van market.

Scott Phillippi, UPS senior director of fleet maintenance and engineering, said about the electrification of the delivery market:

It’s going to be similar to what the Model 3 has done for the consumer market. Now all of a sudden, we’re off to the races.

While GM won’t have to compete with Tesla in the segment, it is still going to have plenty of competition.

Several companies have been competing for large contracts to electrify massive fleets from parcel companies like UPS, the US Post Office, and Amazon.

Most notably, Amazon invested in Rivian and ordered 100,000 electric delivery vans from the startup.

Other competitors include Nissan with the e-NV200, Ford has plans to make a Transit electric van in the US in 2022, Mercedes-Benz has the electric eSprinter, and there are many more.

Earlier this year, UPS ordered 10,000 electric delivery vans from the British startup Arrival (pictured above).

According to the report, the GM electric van is code-named BV1, and it is due to start production in late 2021 at GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck factory.

It will be built using GM’s new Ultium battery platform, which will support a series of new electric vehicles coming in the next few years.

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