Ground prep has started on the Ultium Cells LLC battery cell manufacturing facility in Lordstown, Ohio. Ultium Cells LLC is the name of the General Motors and LG Chem joint venture for cell manufacturing. - Conceptual rendering courtesy of General Motors.

Ground prep has started on the Ultium Cells LLC battery cell manufacturing facility in Lordstown, Ohio. Ultium Cells LLC is the name of the General Motors and LG Chem joint venture for cell manufacturing.

Conceptual rendering courtesy of General Motors.

General Motors is developing an electric van aimed at business users, according to a Reuters report.

While GM would not confirm the plan, sources told Reuters the van has a code name, BV1. The van would start production in late 2021 at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant that will make GM’s new electric pickup truck.

The van will likely utilize GM’s new global EV platform, announced in May, and be powered by GM’s proprietary Ultium batteries, the report said. Those batteries offer energy options ranging from 50 to 200 kWh with a GM-estimated range up to 400 miles or more on a full charge.

The report did not provide vehicle specs.

The market for electric commercial vehicles, which had lagged the electric passenger vehicle market, is gaining traction with new model launches in the works. The surging e-commerce market and last-mile deliveries — with frequent stops, defined routes, and more stringent emissions rules expected in cities — are targeted for first usage.

At the 2020 Work Truck Show, Ford announced plans for an electric Ford Transit, while step van makers Workhorse and Morgan Olson unveiled electric models. In September 2019, Amazon announced a partnership with startup Rivian to make 100,000 electric delivery vans.

“For GM, it’s a better-late-than-never proposition to bring electrification to commercial vehicles," commented Roger Lanctot, director of Automotive Connected Mobility at Strategy Analytics to Fleet Forward. "The water is warm and GM can start making money instantly if it is able to ramp up rapidly.”

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