The Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana vans have been available for fleet sales for what seems like an eternity. They can be configured as passenger vans, cargo vans, and even box trucks. This makes them handy for carpool companies, contractors, shipping companies, etc. General Motors, however, understands that it is time to update these old delivery vans and is considering making the next generation electric.
The van that time left behind
Ford’s Transit, Mercedes’ Sprinter, and Ram’s ProMaster vans are all newer in design when compared to the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana. So GM is going to do something about it. In a report from Reuter’s, unofficial sources say that GM has a new battery technology and a modular platform that it has identified for use on the next generation vans. The platform can be scaled up or down as necessary to meet design requirements. The launch of the delivery van could come in late 2021.
A jump on the competition
A new generation of a delivery van from GM is needed if the company wants to keep up with the competition. An electric van debut, versus a combustion engine van, is an even smarter move. Many fleet managers will like the lower maintenance and fuel costs and the ability to help their company become greener. It would also give GM a leg up on the competition as none of them currently have an all-electric delivery van currently available, although Ford is working on one for 2022.
The sources, which refused to be identified, told Reuters that automakers “don’t want to leave the door open for Tesla” as they had before with passenger cars. So, GM is pursuing the electric delivery van early.
Official sources from GM, however, would only say that the company 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.”
The current van
The current generation of the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savanah was rolled out way back in 2003. The twin vans are body on frame construction vehicles and have offered four-cylinder diesel engines, all the way up to 6.6-liter V8 engines. In addition to delivery service as cargo vans, cutaway vans, they have also been popular platforms for conversion companies to make them into high-end personal family vehicles or transports for limousine and shuttle companies.
In the first quarter of 2020, the Chevrolet Express sold 13,309 units, while the GMC Savanah sold 4,182 units. However, those figures are not the norm due to the global COVID-19 pandemic that shut down production lines and curtailed sales while the world went into lockdown. By comparison, the newer Ford Transit sold 36,836 units, the Ram Promaster sold 9,584 units, and the Mercedes Sprinter sold 5,265 units for the same period.
Electric delivery vehicles seem like the next natural progression in the automotive industry right now. So, it seems likely that the full-size electric van market is about to heat up. In fact, thanks to GM, your next delivery could be coming via an electric delivery van.