It was a good week for electrified utility vehicles, with several companies joining forces or announcing new products in parallel efforts to ramp up production of electric utility trucks and vans.
These decisions indicate that these companies are seriously considering entering the lucrative and large all-electric local and regional transport market – following the trend of other companies moving into this space, such as Ford with the E-Transit, Stellantis with its Fiat and General BrightDrop subsidiary of Motors.
Electric commercial vans may be the vehicles best suited to being battery powered. According to a study conducted by Daimler Truck North America, most urban delivery trucks and vans work from a central warehouse and make deliveries to outlets in a given metropolitan area.
Daimler’s research indicates that most trucks using this method travel less than 100 miles per day, making electric trucks and vans well suited to operators’ needs.
The global commercial vehicle market was estimated at 21.6 million units per year in 2020 and is expected to reach 27.9 million units by 2026. About half of this market is in the United States. Around the world and in the United States, nations and states are putting a sales end date new internal combustion vehicles. In this context, manufacturers of electric vehicles are rushing to market their products.
Mercedes-Benz Vans and Rivian launch joint venture
Mercedes-Benz Vans and Rivian have signed a memorandum of understanding to create a strategic partnership and launch the joint production of large electric vans in Europe under the badges of the two brands.
The two companies plan to use shared investments to reduce costs and plan to rapidly increase production of electric vans. Mercedes-Benz Vans is already a full-service provider of private and commercial electric vans, while electric truck and SUV maker Rivian is new to the commercial market.
“Rivian was created to inspire the world to move away from the consumption of fossil fuels by creating compelling products and services,” said Rivian Founder and CEO RJ Scaringe. “We are delighted to partner with Mercedes-Benz on this project. We are confident that together we will produce truly remarkable electric vans that will benefit not only our customers, but the planet as well.
Anticipating regulatory approval, the companies intend to form a new manufacturing joint venture with the aim of building and operating a plant in Europe, with production beginning “within a few years,” according to the press release. The goal is to build the electric-only production facility at an existing Mercedes-Benz site in Central and Eastern Europe.
“As a pioneer in the field of local emission-free transport, Mercedes-Benz Vans has gained extensive experience in the production and launch of eVans since 2010,” said Mathias Geisen, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans. “We are now accelerating the transformation to an all-electric product portfolio. From 2025, all vans based on our new VAN.EA architecture will be exclusively electric. »
Initially, the companies plan to produce two large vans, one based on VAN.EA (MB Vans Electric Architecture), the electric-only platform of Mercedes-Benz Vans, and the other based on the second-generation electric van. , Rivian Light Van. (RLV).
Mullen Automotive acquires Bollinger Motors
Niche electric vehicle manufacturer Mullen Automotive Inc. announced the acquisition of a majority stake at electric truck manufacturer Bollinger Motors. The acquisition is a strategic move aimed at propelling Mullen into the medium-duty truck market in Classes 3 through 6, as well as the rights to the Bollinger B1 and B2 sport utility trucks. Bollinger’s purchase price was reported at $148.2 million in cash and stock to secure a 60% majority stake. On Bollinger’s side, the merger could help the sport truck maker revitalize its efforts in electric sport utility markets.
Bollinger unveiled a new Class 4 architecture on September 1. The B4 electric Chassis Cabs will be the first in the company’s commercial range. The B4 is a cab-forward truck, designed to offer maximum cargo volume, accommodate adaptation and prioritize safety. Bollinger will be testing the B4 Chassis Cab trucks this fall with numerous fleet customers, upfits and charging companies for feedback.
“The strong interest shown by major customers in all high-volume segments such as delivery, telecommunications, municipal services and utilities is a clear indication of market desire for Bollinger vehicles,” said David Michery. , CEO and President of Mullen Automotive.
“Combining Bollinger’s vehicles with our existing Class 1 and Class 2 utility van programs gives us the opportunity to dominate the entire Class 1 through 6 light and medium commercial truck segments.”
Harbinger Announces New Commercial EV Platform
Finally, Harbinger, a Los Angeles-based automaker, announced the official launch of its new commercial electric vehicle platform in the category of medium loads. Harbinger’s initial product line will include electric chassis and cab chassis designed around the performance, durability and life characteristics required in Classes 4 through 7.
“Medium-duty vehicles form the backbone of the commercial transportation industry and are responsible for delivering tens of millions of packages and essential services every day,” said Harbinger CEO John Harris.
Harbinger plans to ramp up manufacturing over the next five years, with the first vehicles expected in customer hands in late 2023, followed by the start of volume production in 2024.
Harbinger’s Upgradable Chassis is designed for major medium-duty body types, including commercial vans, motorhomes, panel vans and other medium-duty vehicles. Harbinger touted its platform’s specs, including an 800V liquid-cooled battery scalable in 35kWh increments, a floor height of less than 28 inches, a 20-year or 450,000-mile lifespan, a advanced riding and safety technology and a one-hour DC fast charge capability. Harbinger plans to market the truck chassis for the same price as existing internal combustion options.
“Better technology often comes with exorbitant price tags, and we’re seeing today’s medium-duty electric vehicles run for half the life of today’s ICE vehicles at a cost three times higher,” Harris said. “Our technology was developed from the ground up to control chassis cost at the highest level.”