One aspect of GM’s electrification push that gets less attention is its electric van division, but the Detroit-based automaker has been making strides there too. It announced it would start making the BrightDrop EV600 electric delivery vans.
This is swift progress as GM announced the van only in January, including how and where it would build them. They will be built in Ontario, Canada. In all, GM took only 20 months to develop the van, a record for the company.
The first deliveries of the EV600, based on GM’s Ultium battery platform, will start in the holiday season, and the vans will go to FedEx. Production will, however, remain limited before a ramp-up by November 2022.
Part of the reason for the low volume might be because GM is contracting out the manufacturing of the new electric van to a Michigan-based supplier as it modifies its assembly plant in Ontario for EV production.
As a sign that the American giant is not slowing down, it has announced a second version, the EV410. It will have a shorter wheelbase of just over 150 inches, with an overall length of under 20 feet. Similar to the EV600, the EV410 will have a range of 250 miles and a gross vehicle weight of under 10,000 lb. GM will build it in the same factory as the EV600 in Ontario, starting in 2023. The first batch would be delivered to Verizon.
BrightDrop is a spin-off business for GM that makes electric vans for commercial applications.
Speaking on the impending deliveries, Travis Katz, BrightDrop president and CEO, said, “Getting our first electric vehicles on the streets in record time before another peak holiday shipping season is the best gift we could receive this year, especially when we consider the supply chain headwinds the world is facing right now. 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. BrightDrop’s holistic delivery solutions are designed to help tackle these challenges head-on.”
Separately, GM is working on a fleet fork of its Ultium Charge 360 service, which has fleet and facility management tools and integrates with OnStar Vehicle Insights and a management platform owned by BrightDrop.
The electric van segment is vibrant and has established players like Mercedes-Benz, Ford who is making an electric version of its popular Transit van, and startups like Rivian who is delivering 100,000 electric vans to Amazon (one of its investors), and Arrival.