Last year, we reported on a new electric vehicle start-up called Electric Last Mile Solutions (ELMS), which plans to launch a new battery-electric utility van in the United States in late 2021 called the UD-1. Information on the company was scarce at the time, but we’re now getting a better idea of its future plans after it announced this week it had already received 45,000 pre-orders for the UD-1.
The UD-1 is based on an existing Class 1 commercial van platform that is manufactured in China by a company called Chongqing Sokon Industry Group Stock Co Ltd. The van will use a battery supplied by Chinese manufacturer CATL, which should provide a theoretical driving range of around 150 miles. Prices start at $32,500 before the $7,500 federal tax credit.
ELMS CEO Jim Taylor told Bloomberg this week that the company had already received 45,000 pre-orders for the UD-1. Production of the van will take place at the former Hummer plant in Mishawaka, Indiana, which ELMS acquired from Sokon Industry Group for an undisclosed sum.
The ELMS UD-1 will be the only electric van operating in the Class 1 space in the United States. Other proposed electric vans, like the Ford E-Transit, are larger than the UD-1 and have a maximum payload of up to 10,000 lbs. This could be advantageous for ELMS, as it will have no direct Class 1 rivals in North American once it enters production in the third quarter of this year. This also reduces the purchasing cost of the UD-1 – which will sell for just $25,000 with federal incentives factored into the price.
“When we’re selling this at $25,000 and the gasoline version is $25,000, there’s not a penalty anymore,” Taylor told Bloomberg. “With electricity, it’s 30% cheaper to run than the gasoline version.”
General Motors is developing its own electric last mile delivery van in the way of the BrightDrop EV600, however the EV600 is Class 2 van and is much larger than the UD-1. The EV600 will begin rolling off the assembly line at GM’s CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ontario later this year, with the first examples to be delivered to FedEx.