DETROIT — BrightDrop, General Motors' commercial electric vehicle business, has secured Merchants Fleet as its second customer, promising to build 12,600 EV600 vans for the fleet management company starting in 2023.
"Merchants Fleet's move to add such a large number of BrightDrop EV600s to their portfolio signals their strong commitment to accelerate the electric fleet movement, and their belief that BrightDrop solutions will help them and their clients achieve a greener and more efficient future," BrightDrop CEO Travis Katz said in a statement Tuesday.
GM launched the BrightDrop business last month with FedEx Express as its first customer. FedEx has ordered about 500 EV600s to start and is piloting BrightDrop's EP1 electric pallet, which allows delivery drivers to more easily transport goods from the vehicle to customers' doors.
GM plans to build the BrightDrop EV600, powered by its proprietary Ultium battery, at its Ingersoll, Ontario, assembly plant starting in November. The automaker said it would spend $787 million (CA$1 billion) to retool the plant as part of a new tentative, three-year labor contract reached with Unifor. Last week, GM said it plans to electrify its entire portfolio by 2035 as part of a commitment to reach carbon neutrality by 2040.
"We are proud to be the first fleet management company to work with BrightDrop, the innovative and vital new solution from GM," Brendan Keegan, CEO of Merchants Fleet, said in a separate statement. "Merchants Fleet is fully committed to the future of electrification, and working to add BrightDrop EV600s to our clients' fleets is an exciting part of our broader strategy."
Merchants Fleet, based in Hooksett, N.H., aims to electrify half of its mobility fleet portfolio by 2025 and half of its managed fleet portfolio by 2030.
The company has launched an electrification initiative, Electrify Fleet, to deploy new electric commercial vehicles with automaker partners. Through the initiative Merchants Fleet also plans to educate clients about EV advantages.
GM shares continued their upward movement, closing Tuesday's trading up 2.4 percent to $52.72