General Motors is said to have started an electric van program in an effort to get ahead of Tesla, according to a new report from Reuters.
Although Tesla hasn’t announced plans to develop a commercial electric van, GM is reportedly aiming to preemptively head off competition from the electric automaker.
Sources familiar with the company’s plan told Reuters that GM is “developing an electric van aimed at business users, joining a growing list of carmakers planning EVs for the same segment.”
Businesses such as Amazon and United Parcel Service Inc. would be among customers.
“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,” the report said.
GM hasn’t confirmed the plan
GM’s electric van is currently code-named BV1 and is slated to begin production in late 2021. It will be built using GM’s new Ultium battery platform, which will also be built into GM’s other future electric pickup trucks and SUVs.
Last November, Tesla CEO Elon Musk suggested in a tweet that his company was considering launching an all-electric work van. However, the automaker hasn’t announced definitive plans to build one.
In a statement to the Detroit Free Press, a GM spokesperson said the company is “committed to an all-electric future and is implementing a multi-segment, scalable EV strategy to get there.” The spokesperson stopped short of confirming the report, adding that the company does not currently “have any announcements to make regarding electric commercial vehicles."