GM’s electric delivery unit BrightDrop expands deal with Merchants Fleet

General Motors’ BrightDrop has scored a second customer for its EV410 electric delivery vans: fleet management company Merchants Fleet, which said Thursday that it had placed an order for 5,400 of the mid-sized electric vans.

The new order is in addition to Merchants’ previous commitment to purchase 12,600 of BrightDrop’s flagship EV600 van. The total order, which now stands at 18,000 vehicles, is BrightDrop’s largest client order to date.

BrightDrop is GM’s first-to-last-mile business arm that the automaker launched at the beginning of 2021. It was spun out of the automaker’s in-house organization Global Innovation, which also “incubated” OnStar Guardian, OnStar Insurance and GM Defense. So far, the unit has debuted three products: the EV600, the EV410 and a pod-like electric pallet it calls EP1.

EV600 has an estimated range of 250 miles and 600 cubic feet of cargo space, while EV410, which GM unveiled in September, comes in at around 400 cubic feet of cargo space. The automaker has already lined up two customers for the vans: FedEx, which inked a deal for EV600 vans — and will reportedly start receiving the first vehicles in time for the holiday season — and telecom giant Verizon, which placed an order for an undisclosed number of EV410s.

Both vans will use GM’s Ultium battery architecture, and both will be manufactured at the automaker’s CAMI Assembly facility in Ingersoll, Ontario. GM said it would pour $1 billion CAD ($788 million) into converting the CAMI plant into Canada’s first large-scale facility dedicated to commercial electric vehicle manufacturing.

The launch of BrightDrop is a strong sign that GM sees delivery as one way to make a tidy return on its multibillion-dollar investment in electrification and connected vehicles. The automaker has estimated that the market for parcel and food logistics will top $850 billion by 2025.

Merchants Fleet has over 150,000 units under its management in North America, with many EVs already in its roster. A spokesperson for the company told TechCrunch that many of the company’s customers have reservations for future vehicles, such as the BrightDrop EV600, EV410, Ford F-150 Lightning and the Chevrolet electric Silverado.