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General Motors Startup to Develop Smaller EV Van for Verizon

BrightDrop, a General Motors startup that specializes in electric delivery vehicles, is working on a new service van for Verizon. The van will be smaller and faster than the startup's UPS truck equivalent.

Electric vans lined up behind charging station
(TNS) — General Motors' all-electric commercial delivery startup, BrightDrop, will make a new commercial van for its next new customer: Verizon.

On Tuesday, BrightDrop unveiled the EV410, a midsize electric commercial van designed for smaller, more frequent trips than its EV600 van, which more closely resembles the well-known brown UPS trucks.

Verizon will use the smaller EV410 in its field maintenance and service fleet, said BrightDrop CEO Travis Katz. He declined to share the size of the Verizon order, but said the EV410 is just one of many products to come from BrightDrop.

"We have a rich pipeline of new products we're working on," Katz said. "You can expect this will not be the first offering we'll be sharing on new products we're bringing to market."

BrightDrop, which GM started in January, also finished its first build of the EV600 vans for FedEx Express, Katz said. BrightDrop will start to deliver some of the first 500 vans to FedEx by year-end, with the balance delivered on a rolling basis into next year. GM brought the EV600 to market in just 20 months, making it the fastest vehicle program to market in GM's history, Katz said. Typically, it takes 50 months.


GM is not releasing the price for the EV600 or EV410, but Katz said most fleet managers focus more on the cost of ownership. In a study, BrightDrop found fleet managers will save about $7,000 a year in costs by going electric with the EV600 when compared with similar diesel-powered vehicles, he said.

"The $7,000 savings is from fuel savings and lower maintenance costs," Katz said. "We expect to see the commercial fleets convert to EV much faster than others because they're really doing the math."

The vans are "purpose built" with details that Katz said will appeal to delivery fleets, such as a larger bulkhead door for bulky packages and a lower step-in height to make it easier on employees. He said Merchants Fleet, a fleet management company, has ordered 12,600 EV600 vans.

For FedEx, the initial low-volume order of EV600s was made in conjunction with supplier Kuka at its facility in Michigan. Kuka, which is headquartered in Augsburg, Germany, specializes in making industrial robots and other parts for factory automation, according to its website. It has been owned by the Chinese company Midea Group since 2016.

GM plans to make the EV600s at its CAMI Assembly in Ontario, starting around November 2022. It will start building the EV410 van there in 2023.

Katz said BrightDrop delivered the first EV600 vans quickly by using GM's flexible Ultium battery platform. It also borrowed some innovative virtual development processes used with the GMC Hummer electric pickup, Katz said.

"This is a strong statement to the market of how our unique operations setup, which marries the cutting-edge innovation, agility and focus of a technology startup with the scale and manufacturing might of a major automaker, can deliver real value," Katz said.


Both the EV600 and future EV410 will offer 250 miles of range on a full charge.

BrightDrop's EV410 will have about 400 cubic feet of cargo area, a short wheelbase of 150 inches and be about 20 feet long, so it can be parked in a standard parking spot.

The vehicle, which is intended for fast and small payload deliveries or as a service vehicle for everything from online grocery delivery to telecom maintenance, will help Verizon meet its pledge to be a zero-emissions service fleet by 2035, said Ken Jack, Verizon's vice president of fleet operations.

The EV410 will feature:

  • Available at a gross vehicle weight rating of less than 10,000 pounds.
  • Segment-leading safety features such as front and rear park assist, automatic emergency braking, forward collision alert, following distance indicator, front pedestrian braking, lane keep assist with lane departure warning.
  • Security system with motion sensors to help keep cargo secure.
  • Low step-in height, front sliding pocket doors, wide cabin walkways and an available large auto-open cargo bulkhead door.


GM is not the first carmaker to enter this space. In 2019, Amazon said it would purchase 100,000 electric vans from electric truck maker Rivian. Amazon said it expects to deploy 10,000 of them by 2022.

The difference is BrightDrop will offer software and services as well and other products to help in the commercial delivery industry, such as its EP1. The EP1 is an electrically powered pallet used to move packages, easing the burden on delivery company workers.

Katz said BrightDrop has done a pilot program with FedEx in Toronto using the EP1 and workers were able to deliver 25% more packages with it than without it.

"We're actively working to bring that out for a fully commercial version," Katz said. "We'll have some more news to share on that soon."

GM has said BrightDrop will give it an added revenue stream, and help fund GM's transformation to an all-electric automaker. GM has pledged to invest $35 billion in EV development over the next four years. Barra has said GM will launch 30 new EVs by 2025.

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