Saturday, February 24, 2024

BrightDrop completes record-setting build of its first electric van

In January this year, General Motors introduced BrightDrop as its new brand for electric urban delivery solutions. And now, BrightDrop has announced the completion of its first production EV600 delivery van off the lines that the company says is the fastest built vehicle, from concept to commercialization, in General Motors’ history.

This is a key milestone to deliver its first electric light commercial vehicle (eLCV) to FedEx Express in time for the holiday season.

BrightDrop EV600 was among the first products GM had announced back in January and was already in development at that time. So this week’s announcement marks a 20-month concept-to-commercialization period that is the fastest in the company history.

The record-setting development timeline was made possible by leveraging GM’s highly flexible Ultium battery platform, innovative virtual development processes established by the GMC HUMMER EV program, and an agile approach to manufacturing development.

The EV600 is a 731-cm-long lightweight electric transport van designed for the delivery of goods and services over long ranges. The e-van allows you to travel up to 400 km (250 miles) without recharging and offers over 600 cubic ft (17 cubic meters) of cargo space and 1,000 kg of payload over the top of its flat-packaged 20-module Ultium battery.

The BrightDrop EV410 is a medium-size electric light commercial vehicle.
The BrightDrop EV410 is a medium-size electric light commercial vehicle. Credit: General Motors

In addition to the segment-leading range and safety features, GM estimates potential yearly operating expense savings of $7,000 by going electric with the EV600 when compared to a similar diesel-powered vehicle. BrightDrop is partnering with a U.S. supplier partner for initial low-volume production while the conversion of GM’s CAMI Assembly Plant in Ingersoll, Canada, is completed. CAMI will serve as the large-scale production home of BrightDrop’s EV600 electric van starting in November 2022.

Together with it, GM will also release the EV410, which largely follows the characteristics of the EV600 but differs in a more compact size and less spacious body. At a shorter wheelbase of just over 150 inches and length of under 20 feet (6 meters), this new van can park in regular parking spaces, a practical plus for smaller, more frequent trips. The E410 has, like its big brother, a maximum range of around 400 km (250 miles). At the same time, it claims a cargo volume of 410 cubic feet or the equivalent of 11,600 liters.

Well-suited for faster, smaller payload delivers or as a service vehicle – from online grocery delivery to telecom maintenance – the EV410 offers versatility for a myriad of use cases and expands zero-emissions driving to companies like Verizon, helping them meet their sustainability goals.

The EV410 is the latest vehicle in BrightDrop’s ecosystem of last-mile solutions, joining the EV600, the company’s first eLCV slated to hit roads later this year; the EP1, an all-electric smart container designed to replace the age-old dolly; and a software platform for fleet and asset management. BrightDrop plans to begin EV410 production in 2023 at CAMI Assembly.