brightdrop expands e-delivery van business to canada with dhl express

BrightDrop, General Motors’ electric delivery van subsidiary, added DHL Express Canada to its portfolio of customers, marking the company’s entrance into its first international market.

BrightDrop has also started production on its Zevo 600 delivery vans (formerly called EV600) at GM’s CAMI Assembly plant in Ontario, the company said Monday at the plant’s grand opening. The facility is expected to produce 50,000 Zevo vans annually by 2025, with scaled production of the Zevo 600 and the Zevo 400 (formerly EV410) scheduled for January 2023 and “late 2023,” respectively.

Over 25,000 Zevo 600s have been reserved by customers like DHL that are eager to reach net-zero goals — DHL has put aside €7 billion to get there by 2050. So far, BrightDrop has delivered 150 vehicles to FedEx, its U.S. launch customer. Those vans were built at a Michigan facility by German contracted supplier Kuka AG in order to meet customer demand in advance of the CAMI plant’s opening.

“Bringing BrightDrop to Canada and starting production at CAMI is a major step to providing EVs at scale, while delivering real results to the world’s biggest brands,” said Travis Katz, BrightDrop president and CEO, in a statement. “Our international expansion is proof that we can deliver exactly what our customers need where they need it. Having DHL Express Canada come onboard as a new customer shows the confidence legacy brands have in our ability to deliver.” 

DHL Express Canada will add its first BrightDrop Zevo vans to its fleet early next year, said BrightDrop. The GM subsidiary didn’t provide TechCrunch with a more firm timeline nor how many delivery vans DHL reserved. A spokesperson from the company told TechCrunch that BrightDrop sees an opportunity to contribute substantially to DHL’s fleet, 60% of which will be electric by 2030.

To accompany the vans, DHL will pilot BrightDrop’s Trace eCarts — smart, electrically propelled carts that are designed to help logistics companies efficiently transport multiple packages from van to recipient — and subscription-based software platform in Toronto, with more regions to follow. BrightDrop Core, the software platform, was unveiled last month at GM’s investor day as a way to provide customers with more detailed insights into their operations.

The launch of the Ontario plant follows BrightDrop’s projections that it is on track to reach $1 billion in revenue next year — an impressive feat, if true, considering the company is so young. BrightDrop only launched last year, but GM gave it a kick-start in the form of an $800 million investment to convert the CAMI plant into a high-volume EV production facility.

BrightDrop would not share specifics on the price to reserve or buy its vehicles.

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