GM's BrightDrop company gets more reservations for electric vans

Kalea Hall
The Detroit News

BrightDrop, the General Motors Co. subsidiary focused on providing electric delivery vehicles, said Wednesday that Walmart Inc. has reserved 5,000 delivery vans and FedEx Corp. has added 2,000 to its initial order of 500. 

The company, introduced at the 2021 Consumer Electronics Show, made the announcement at the 2022 show. 

BrightDrop's EV600 has more than 600 feet of cargo space. The electric cargo van by General Motors Co.'s delivery and logistics business will hit roads later this year.

BrightDrop has continued to announce new commercial customers in its first year as companies look to transition their delivery and service fleets to all electric to meet new environmental goals.

In addition to FedEx and Walmart, Verizon and Merchants Fleet have signed on for BrightDrop electric vans. 

BrightDrop has two delivery van options: the EV600 and the smaller EV410. FedEx was the first customer to receive EV600s in December when BrightDrop delivered five of the deliver company's initial order of 500 vans. Those vans were built at a Michigan-based supplier. 

FedEx said Wednesday it's working on a plan to add up to 20,000 more in the years to follow. The company also said it plans to expand its testing of BrightDrop’s EP1 electric pallet that moves product over short distances to 10 markets this year.

BrightDrop will deliver additional vans to FedEx "on a rolling basis," company President and CEO Travis Katz said on a media call.

The company, he added, now has reservations in the "tens of thousands."

"We are seeing a lot of momentum and a lot of excitement around these vehicles," Katz said.

Deliveries to Walmart will begin early next year, he said. The retailer plans to use BrightDrop electric vans for its InHome delivery service, which it plans to expand from being available to 6 million households to 30 million U.S. households by the end of the year. 

Both the EV600 and EV410 will be built at GM's CAMI Assembly plant in Ontario. The plant will convert to build the EV600 in late 2022 and production of the EV410 will start in 2023. 

Companies often struggle "when they're trying to go from concept vehicle to real vehicle," Katz said. "It's very hard to scale manufacturing. Because we have GM's backing and GM really knows how to scale manufacturing ... we are expecting to ramp production very, very aggressively and we'll have more details to share on that soon."

khall@detroitnews.com

Twitter:@bykaleahall