October 16, 2021

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GM’s BrightDrop starts building its first electric vans

Images: BrightDrop

BrightDrop, which is General Motors’ new dedicated electric delivery van spinoff, has revealed its second vehicle: a smaller van with many of the same capabilities of the larger version announced in January. The new mid-size electric van comes as BrightDrop is announcing that it has already built the first production versions of the larger van, and expects to have them on the road this year.

The larger van, dubbed the EV600, has 600 cubic feet of cargo space, can travel up to 250 miles on a full battery, and has a gross vehicle weight of less than 10,000 pounds. The new van has a little more than 400 cubic feet of cargo space, and is so named “EV410.” The smaller van will also share the same standard safety features (like front and rear park assist, automatic emergency braking, forward collision alert, pedestrian detection and braking) as the EV600, and will have other optional safety features (like rear cross traffic braking, blind zone steering assist, rear pedestrian alert, and more).

BrightDrop’s new smaller EV410 electric van.

BrightDrop says Verizon has lined up to be the first customer for the EV410, and will use the van in its field maintenance and service fleet. But the smaller van won’t go into production until 2023 at a Canadian assembly plant GM is currently converting. (BrightDrop is currently outsourcing assembly of the EV600, and plans to start building that van in Canada in November 2022).

Both vehicles will be built on GM’s Ultium battery platform, which will power a whole lineup of new EVs, from the Hummer SUV and pickup truck to an electric Chevy Silverado, and more.

BrightDrop is not the only company making an early run at electrifying the commercial market, but it’s one of the most well-positioned thanks to the support from GM. Many other early players in the space are startups. Some, like Arrival, have raised a lot of money in the public markets and are making big promises. Others, like Workhorse, have struggled to survive while trying to establish themselves before the big players showed up.