It’s not just personal vehicles that are increasingly going electric: commercial vehicles are, too. And among the several automakers pledging to make commercial EVs is General Motors. However, GM won’t just be making a single electric delivery van. Rather, the company intends to make several commercial EVs. And one of them could be an electric Chevrolet Express.
There could be an electric version of the Chevrolet Express cargo van
Technically, GM hasn’t officially said that it’s making an electric Chevrolet Express. However, in a recent conference call with analysts, GM CEO Mary Barra did say that the company plans to release “a full-sized battery electric cargo van for the Chevrolet brand,” Automotive News reports. Looking through Chevy’s current catalog, that means either a new Express or a companion model, Roadshow muses.
But while an electric Chevrolet Express is still hypothetical, the idea makes a good deal of sense. Firstly, the Express is fairly dated and overdue for an overhaul. Note, it was one of the last GM vehicles to offer a CD player.
Secondly, several other automakers are already working on electric cargo vans of their own. Rivian, for example, is making electric cargo vans for Amazon. Bollinger has electric commercial vehicles in the works, too, including cargo vans. And Ford’s working on an electric version of its Transit, the E-Transit. The current Transit already competes with the current Express, so market pressure might give Chevrolet an excuse to go electric.
Thirdly, Chevrolet already made an electric Express in the past—sort of. In 1966, Chevy released the Electrovan, an electric van powered by hydrogen fuel cells. While it wasn’t successful, it was technically an electric cargo van.
GM has other electric commercial vehicles planned, too
Even if this BEV Chevrolet cargo van will be an Express, it won’t be GM’s only upcoming electric commercial vehicle. And we’re not talking about the BrightDrop EV600 delivery van.
During the conference call, Barra also said that GM will release an electric medium-duty commercial pickup truck. What’s more, this truck will use both GM’s Ultium battery and Hydrotec hydrogen fuel cell technology. As of this writing, GM hasn’t confirmed which brand will get this electric truck. But we do know that the upcoming battery-electric Silverado will use Ultium tech, too.
Given the current state of US hydrogen infrastructure, it might seem odd for GM to use it in its planned electric commercial vehicle. However, it theoretically lets the electric truck recharge without waiting for an unoccupied charging station. That’s something the upcoming electric Ram 1500 and Ford F-150 Lightning Pro can’t do. Alternatively, GM could offer the truck in battery-only and fuel-cell-only form to give buyers more options, Autoblog suggests.
When will these commercial EVs become available?
As of this writing, neither new upcoming electric commercial vehicle has a definitive release date. GM only says they’ll debut sometime later in 2021. As for the EV600, its production has been delayed until November 2022, Autoblog reports. But a small number of examples will be built in late 2021 for testing purposes.
Fortunately for interested parties, GM plans to release more information as the reveal dates draw closer. Confirming whether or not the Chevrolet Express is really going electric will have to wait until then.
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