(Reuters) - The coronavirus pandemic has added a fresh boost to the rise of e-commerce, which has traditional automakers and startups racing to produce electric delivery vehicles that are increasingly sought-after thanks to their mileage efficiency and ability to harvest data and upgrade new software features overnight.
Below are some of the major orders and automakers’ projects under way to bring more electric delivery vans and trucks to market:
- Ford Motor Co F.N is working on an electric version of its popular Transit van. Ford will roll out an all-electric version of the van for North America in model year 2022, mirroring the timetable for launching a similar model for the European market in 2022.
- General Motors Co GM.N is developing an electric van for business users. The GM van – code-named BV1 – which is due to start production in late 2021.
- Amazon.com Inc AMZN.O ordered 100,000 electric vans last year from startup Rivian Automotive LLC - in which it has invested. The first of those vans is due for delivery in 2021 and a Rivian spokeswoman said production will begin on schedule.
- Amazon also ordered 1,800 delivery vans last month from Daimler AG's DAIGn.DE Mercedes-Benz car and vans division for its European fleet. The first of those vans will be delivered by the end of this year.
- Electric truck maker Nikola Corp NKLA.O and CNH Industrial NV CNHI.MI truck unit Iveco are due to start producing a jointly developed electric big rig in 2021. Nikola is also working on a hydrogen fuel cell model that should begin production in 2023.
- Tesla Inc TSLA.O is still working on its long-awaited Semi, a big rig it claims will have a range of up to 500 miles (805 km). Production of the Semi was originally slated to begin in 2019, but has been moved back to 2021. Tesla had a large number of pre-orders for the Semi from customers like UPS.
- UPS UPS.N has ordered 10,000 vans from UK startup Arrival Ltd - the majority for the U.S. market - in which UPS also owns a minority stake. UPS said it expects to take delivery of "small numbers" of Arrival vehicles beginning in 2021, with larger-scale production beginning in 2022.
- Navistar International Corp NAV.N will launch an electric school bus by the end of this year, with electric trucks following at an undisclosed point after that.
Gary Horvat, vice president of eMobility at Navistar, said the truck maker is “getting a lot of requests from all across the country and all the industries we support” about electric trucks, with e-commerce also spurring demand.
- Deutsche Post DHL Group's DPWGn.DE StreetScooter electric vehicle unit plans to deploy its zero-emission delivery van across the United States as soon as 2022.
- Electric delivery vehicle startup Chanje Energy Inc will deliver 1,000 electric vans to package delivery company FedEx Corp FDX.N in California in the first half of 2021. Chanje's vans are assembled in China by FDG Electric Vehicles Ltd 0729.HK, currently its main investor.
- Workhorse Group Inc WKHS.O is due to start production in the fourth quarter of its electric delivery trucks at a rate of 100 vehicles per month. Chief Financial Officer Steve Schrader said that number will rise to 200 vehicles per month in 2021.
UPS has ordered 50 electric trucks from Workhorse, with an option for 950 more. Workhorse is also among the bidders for a U.S. Postal Service contract to replace its fleet of delivery vans.
- Michigan-based specialty vehicle company Shyft Group Inc SHYF.O recently announced it would launch production of electric delivery trucks in 2021 with a production capacity of up to 5,000 units per year. The company says it already has orders from "two leading parcel delivery companies," but declined to name them.
Startup Bollinger Motors, which has yet to produce any vehicles, announced last month it will start producing electric delivery vans in 2022.
Reporting by Nick Carey in Davenport, Iowa; Editing by Matthew Lewis
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