General Motors’ BrightDrop continues its breakneck pace to market as the automaker takes aim at last-mile commercial and cargo delivery market segments. BrightDrop on Tuesday said it would add a second delivery vehicle to its lineup, with telecom giant Verizon as its first slated customer.
In addition, GM said it had completed the first production builds of its flagship EV600 van. FedEx will begin receiving its vehicles (it placed an order for 500) before the end of the year. It’s now the fastest vehicle program to market in the automaker’s history, GM said in a statement.
The automaker scored a second customer for the EV600 with Merchants Fleet, which in February said it would purchase 12,600 vehicles.
Verizon will use the new medium-sized EV410 vehicle as part of its field maintenance and servicing fleet. The two companies did not disclose the size of the order or other terms.
The new van will have more than 400 cubic feet of cargo space and measure just under 20 feet overall in length. GM said the vehicle is ideal for maneuvering in crowded spaces, like urban areas, particularly in the online grocery delivery and telecom maintenance segments.
The automaker says that fleet managers will save $7,000 annually using EV600s compared with internal combustion engine vehicles.
The two vehicles each have an estimated range of 250 miles on the automaker’s Ultium battery platform, and weigh less than 10,000 pounds. The EV410 will join the EV600 in being manufactured at GM’s CAMI Assembly facility in Ingersoll, Ontario. GM said it is partnering with a U.S. supplier in Michigan for an initial low-volume production, as the CAMI plant undergoes conversions to ramp-up production of the EV600 starting in November 2022.
The introduction of BrightDrop at the beginning of this year signals General Motors’ strong interest in diversifying its market opportunities, as it seeks to lock-in the last-mile commercial and delivery segments. To get there, GM said it would invest around $1 billion CAD ($788 million) to convert the CAMI plant to Canada’s first electric delivery van manufacturing facility.
The electric cargo and delivery segment is certainly a huge opportunity for GM and other automakers. Verizon is part of a slew of companies, including FedEx and UPS, that have said they would cut or even eliminate net emissions from their operations.
Correction: The article originally stated FedEx would receive 500 vehicles by the end of the year. FedEx will receive vehicles this year, but on a rolling basis.