Jun 5, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Electric delivery vans are having a moment

The StreetScooter Work delivery vehicle of german electric vehicle manufacturer StreetScooter drives across a street

Photo: Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images

Commercial vans are emerging as a key growth area for electrification — and General Motors is developing a vehicle for the sector, according to a Reuters report.

Why it matters: GM's interest shows how a powerful legacy automaker wants in on what Morgan Stanley analysts called "America's hottest new vehicle" in a research note this week.

  • "Delivery vans have highly predictable routes, conduct high-value services, operate a high utilization and generally stay within a specific geographic area … all of which fits well with EV infrastructure and charging ecosystems which enable their full economic use," they write.

The intrigue: The fledgeling battery-powered van market, like other EV segments, includes both startups and giant automakers.

  • Amazon, in late 2019, vowed to buy 100,000 electric delivery vehicles from the startup Rivian and hopes to have 10,000 operating as soon as 2022.
  • Ford announced in March that it's developing an electric version of its Ford Transit cargo van.
  • UPS is planning to buy at least 10,000 electric vans from the U.K. startup Arrival.
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