GM’s BrightDrop Begins Building Its First Electric Vans

BrightDrop, General Motors’ new electric van spin-off, has unveiled its second vehicle: a smaller van with many of the same capabilities as the larger version announced in January. The new mid-sized electric van comes as BrightDrop announces 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, called 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 just over 400 cubic feet of cargo space and is so called “EV410”. The smaller van will also share the same standard safety features (such as front and rear parking assist, automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection and braking) as the EV600, and will have other optional safety features (such as rear intersection braking, blind spot steering assist, rear pedestrian warning and more).

BrightDrop’s new smaller EV410 electric van.

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

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

BrightDrop isn’t the only company to make an early start in electrifying the commercial market, but it’s one of the best positioned companies thanks to GM’s backing. 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 for survival as they tried to establish themselves before the big players showed up.