Electric Vans

Commercial Van electrification in North America: ready, set, go!

Automakers have set lofty electrification goals for the coming years, with all-electric Vans a major focus.

Katelyn Drake, Americas Light Vehicle Production Forecasting Analyst

10 May 2021

Commercial Van electrification in North America: ready, set, go!

The rush to electrify vehicle portfolios is officially on. Automakers have set lofty electrification goals for the coming years. Ford will invest US$29 billion in EVs by 2025; GM will spend US$27 billion on EVs and plans to electrify its entire Light Duty Vehicle range by 2035; Volvo hopes that all-electric vehicles will account for 50% of its global sales by 2025; and Subaru intends to offer a hybrid or electric version of every model in its line-up by 2035. Other automakers have set similar targets, with varying timelines and specifications, but all sharing a common theme: the readiness to electrify.

The choice of which bodystyles to electrify first has been critical, along with styling and specification choices. Gone is the stereotype of a quirky electric hatchback; automakers are ready to prove to consumers that it is possible to have it all: style, functionality and an electric powertrain.

SUVs were an obvious first choice, given their outsized market share, followed by Pickups, which have allowed OEMs like Ford, Stellantis, GM, Tesla and Rivian to showcase their prowess in designing rugged all-electric vehicles with impressive capabilities. More recently, however, the focus has moved to all-electric Vans, particularly in the commercial sector.

The case for an all-electric delivery Van is strong. These vehicles make frequent stops, travel at low speeds and usually have a limited daily driving range, thus largely precluding the need for an extended battery range. Thus, several OEMs are now adding all-electric Vans to their portfolios.

From 2020 to 2028, we expect 12 all-electric Vans to be added to North American production. The majority will be new to the market, such as the ELMS UD-1, Rivian R1A and BrightDrop EV600, although a few existing Van model lines will gain an all-electric version, including the Mercedes-Benz eSprinter and Ford Transit.

By 2028, nearly 26% of all Vans produced in North America are forecast to be all-electric, the bulk of which will serve as delivery vehicles. This compares with only 11% for the region’s combined SUV and Car segments, while less than 3% of Pickups will be electrified within the timeframe. For the overall Light Vehicle market, electrification share is projected at a little over 9%.

While all-electric Vans are likely to account for less than 1% of total Light Vehicle output and 9% of total all-electric Light Vehicle production in North America, their importance to automakers cannot be understated. The Van segment will be the first in the region to see such a large proportion of its overall production shift to an all-electric future. And while the Rivian R1A or Workhorse C1000 might not be as eye-catching as the GMC HUMMER EV, Ford Mustang Mach-E or Tesla Cybertruck, these all-electric Vans serve to highlight the functionality and practicality that BEVs have to offer.