DETROIT — General Motors' fleet customers are past the information-gathering stage for electrifying their fleets. They're now making launch plans, with nearly 370 companies having placed 85,000 reservations for the Chevrolet Silverado EV work truck.
"What was once … 'Tell me about it' is now 'Help me develop a plan to get there,' " Ed Peper, vice president of GM Fleet, told Automotive News. "Their interest level regarding EVs at this point in time is extremely high."
GM's traditional fleet volume has declined during the pandemic and global microchip shortage, but in the first quarter, fleet penetration climbed to 24 percent from 17 percent a year earlier. It's nearing the 28 percent that fleet represented before the pandemic began.
"Fleet companies need replacement vehicles. They are tools of their trade and tools of their business, just like laptop computers are," Peper said. "Our demand has never been greater than it is right now. We are going to be up significantly more than the rest of the industry."
As GM bolsters its traditional fleet business, the automaker also is laying the groundwork for its fleet of commercial electric vehicles under the Chevy brand as well as through BrightDrop, the line of delivery vans it launched last year.
Over the next few years, it will introduce electric fleet options including the Silverado EV, the Equinox EV and a battery-powered Chevy cargo van. It also is working with customers and third parties on charging infrastructure.
GM plans to invest $35 billion in electric and autonomous vehicle development through 2025 and expects much of its volume to come from fleet. Once everyday car buyers see commercial EVs on the road, a personal EV will feel more familiar and attainable, executives have said.