GM’s BrightDrop to launch second electric van, secures Verizon as first customer

Industry

DETROIT — BrightDrop, General Motors’ electric delivery van brand, will launch its second vehicle in 2023, with Verizon as the first customer.

The EV410, a midsize delivery van designed for small, frequent trips, will join the larger EV600 van at GM’s CAMI Assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ontario. Like the EV600, it will have a GM-estimated 250 miles of range on a full charge.

BrightDrop will complete the first EV600 production builds for FedEx Express this year, the company said in a statement Tuesday. The build timeline was the fastest vehicle program in GM’s history, BrightDrop said.

“This is a strong statement to the market of how our unique operations setup, which marries the cutting-edge innovation, agility and focus of a technology startup with the scale and manufacturing might of a major automaker, can deliver real value to both customers and the planet,” Travis Katz, BrightDrop CEO, said in the statement.

The EV410 has 410 cubic feet of cargo area; a shorter wheelbase than the EV600, at about 150 inches; and a length of about 20 feet.

The midsize van can fit into a standard parking space, which is key for reducing congestion in urban areas, BrightDrop said.

The van was designed for faster, smaller payloads, such as grocery deliveries, or as a service vehicle for companies such as Verizon, which has set a goal for net-zero operational emissions by 2035.

“Mainstream EV adoption by businesses will require the largest fleet operators to work together with innovators like BrightDrop in the development of vehicles that meet the particular needs of our business,” Ken Jack, vice president of Fleet Operations for Verizon, said in the statement.

BrightDrop would not disclose the size of Verizon’s order.

The 20-month EV600 development timeline was driven by GM’s Ultium battery platform, virtual development processes established by the GMC Hummer EV program and an adjusted approach to manufacturing development.

BrightDrop partnered with supplier Kuka in Livonia, Mich., for the initial low-volume production of the EV600 while GM retools CAMI. The Canada plant will begin building the EV600 in November 2022.

GM estimates that fleet managers can save $7,000 annually by going electric with the EV600 compared with similar diesel-powered offerings.

“As e-commerce demand continues to increase and the effects of climate change are felt like never before across the globe, it’s imperative that we move quickly to reduce harmful emissions,” Katz said.

This year, FedEx Express has ordered at least 500 EV600s, and Merchants Fleet ordered 12,600 of them.

BrightDrop has also developed the EP1, a pallet that was designed to reduce package touch points, costs and physical strain on delivery drivers.

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