Load it up

From the August 2023 print edition

For 2023, electric vans are no longer a future proposition.

BrightDrop EV600

This market is being fast populated by models that appeal to business. According to the World Economic Forum, demand for urban last-mile delivery is expected to grow by 78 per cent by 2030, leading to a 36 per cent increase in electric delivery vehicles in the world’s top 100 cities.

From a service vehicle standpoint, electric vans run all day and charge all night. The electricity cost per kilometre versus gasoline is a fraction of your current fuel expense. Overall maintenance costs are lower (no oil changes, no transmission, no exhaust system, et cetera) and with batteries improving all the time – a longer service lifecycle is certainly possible.

Ford E-Transit
Ford says the E-Transit is the only all-electric cargo van available in eight different configurations, including three roof heights and three body lengths, plus cutaway and chassis cab versions. The E-Transit can be further customized with the addition of vocational bodies (on chassis cab and cutaway) and equipment like ladder racks and interior bulkhead and storage solutions

Ford E-Transit

Other built-for-business features on E-Transit include optional Pro Power Onboard, which provides up to 2.4Kw of power for customers to transform the vehicle into a mobile generator. The maximum payload is 3,880lbs (4,428lbs on the cutaway version). The van interior is 487.3 cubic feet (maximum) and the cargo space dimensions are 81.5-inch (max) height, 69.8-inch width, and 171.5-inch length.

On the heals of the Ford Transit we have the other big van player, with Mercedes launching its own electric van. The all-new 2024 eSprinter will arrive in Canada in the second half of 2023. It is equipped with the largest battery available, which has a usable capacity of 113Kwh. The load capacity is 495 cubic feet, while the GVWR is 9,500lbs. The electric range, according to Mercedes testing, will be up to 400km (248 miles). The simulated range based on a city cycle will be up to 500km (311 miles).

GM BrightDrop
A home-grown Canadian success story is taking place in Ingersoll, Ontario. The CAMI auto plant, a facility that has produced a variety of GM vehicles over the past 40 years, has been re-tooled and relaunched as the home factory of BrightDrop. Producing the EV600 – an electric light commercial vehicle purpose-built for the delivery of goods and services.

Powered by the Ultium battery system the EV600 has an estimated range of up to 402km (250 miles) on a full charge. The body of the EV600 is purposely square to offer a usable 600 cubic feet of cargo area. Front sliding pocket doors, wide cabin walkways and a large auto-open cargo bulkhead door all contribute to optimize driver efficiency. It is rated at a GVWR of less than 10,000lbs.

On the heels of the EV600 (which has already been sold to companies like DHL and FedEx) comes a smaller version, the EV410. The EV410 has more than 400 cubic feet of cargo area and a shorter wheelbase. In fact, the EV410 will fit in a standard parking space.

Meanwhile, the all-new Ram ProMaster EV will be introduced later this year. It will be the first fully electric van offered in North America from Stellantis and the Ram brand. Unfortunately, no other information is available yet.

Once again, for GM, the van business remains steady and unchanged. The maximum payload for the Chevy Express 2500 and 3500 remains 4,503lbs and the towing capacity is 10,000lbs. The van’s interior is 284.4 cubic feet, while the dimensions are 53.4 height, 52.7 width, and 155 length. The 2023 Chevy Express Cut-away 3500-4500 carries over this year, with a max payload of 9,147lbs.

2023 Ram ProMaster 1500 to 3500
For 2023, the ProMaster is a carry over. However, the 2023 model has already been shown and is expected late this year. It will carry a host of updates and upgrades. ProMaster is available as a cargo van, window van, chassis cab and cutaway model. It is a front-wheel-drive platform with a max payload of 4,680lbs and towing capacity of 6,800lbs. The interior is 530 cubic feet (max) with a cargo space height of 51 inches.

Ram 3500 ProMaster

For 2023 the E-series is the same. It is only available as a cutaway or stripped chassis. Single and dual-rear wheel chassis have GCWRs ranging from 13,000lbs to 22,000lbs. This year is a carry-over year for Transit Connect. It continues to be offered as cargo or passenger equipped wagon. The maximum payload is 1,610lbs and towing capacity is 2,000lbs. The van’s interior is 145 cubic feet, while the cargo space dimensions are 59.1 inches height, 48.1 inches width, and 72.6 inches length.

Meanwhile, the 2023 Ram ProMaster 1500 to 3500 carries a host of updates and upgrades. ProMaster is available as a cargo van, window van, chassis cab and cutaway model. It is a front-wheel-drive platform. Its maximum payload is 4,680lbs and towing capacity is 6,800lbs. The van’s interior is 530 cubic feet (max) and the cargo space height is 51 inches.