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BrightDrop is One of GM's Brightest Stars

GM is on a roll. The automaker is reporting first quarter sales up 18 percent. GM sold 603,208 vehicles in the U.S. and grew its market share 1.5 points. Plus, GM is shipping its first BrightDrop electric vehicles from its Canadian plant and the delivery trucks are officially sold out for 2023.

GM has plenty of reasons to celebrate right now. Sales continue to be strong for the first quarter and its subsidiary called BrightDrop that focuses on electric delivery vehicles is selling as many as it can build for now. BrightDrop says its EV delivery vehicles are totally sold out for 2023 and it is taking orders for 2024 now. BrightDrop is also adding a high-volume customer which should keep it cranking for the foreseeable future.

BrightDrop Building Vehicles at CAMI

BrightDrop started building vehicles at GM’s Canadian Automotive Manufacturing Plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, last December, and says it is now shipping its first Canadian-built vehicles. BrightDrop built more than 500 of its Zevo 600s in the first quarter at CAMI Assembly. BrightDrop says all of its 2023 model year Zevo 600s are already sold out.

New Customer Ryder Plans to Add 4,000 Delivery Vehicles

Moving and leasing company Ryder has signed on with BrightDrop and plans to add 4,000 EV delivery vehicles through 2025. Ryder has announced that it will buy both the BrightDrop Zevo 600 and Zevo 400 model electric vans. The first 200 trucks will be ordered this year. The expanded offering will help Ryder customers test and broaden their EV footprint.

“We aim to make fleet electrification as seamless as possible by investing in alternative vehicle solutions to offer sustainable and economic advantages for our customers,” says Tom Havens, president of fleet management solutions for Ryder.

“Ryder continues to be at the forefront of identifying advanced and emerging vehicle technology by serving as an extended research and development arm for its customers.”

The current Zevo 600 and Zevo 400 electric vans have a range of up to 250 miles on a full charge, and can handle a payload of about 2,000 to 3,400 lbs. With Zevo 600’s cargo capacity of over 600 cubic feet and Zevo 400’s cargo capacity of over 400 cubic feet, BrightDrop’s electric vans offer the benefits of an electric powertrain with plenty of cargo space.

Ryder plans to initially use the model year 2023 Zevo 600 electric vans in its rental fleet in California, Dallas-Fort Worth, and New York City later this year. The new 2024 Zevo 600 and Zevo 400 models for lease and rental customers are expected to be available as early as summer 2023 and into the first quarter of 2024.

“Electrifying lease and rental vehicles can have a significant impact on transportation-related emissions, and our goal is to make that switch as easy and enticing as possible for our customers,” said Steve Hornyak, chief commercial officer for BrightDrop. “Ryder’s plan to introduce 4,000 of our electric vans to their fleet shows their commitment to sustainable options for customers, and their confidence that BrightDrop will help them deliver on that.”

BrightDrop’s Phenomenal Growth

In just the last two years, BrightDrop has secured more than 30 commercial customers in retail, rental, parcel delivery and service-based utilities. The first big customers are FedEx, Walmart, Hertz, DHL Express and Purolator. Other customers like American Tire Distributors, WasteNot Compost and Rexel USA have also signed on. BrightDrop intends to build 50,000 trucks a year by 2025.

BrightDrop is taking reservations for model year 2024 vehicles today, with deliveries expected to begin by mid-year 2023.

“Our customers have ambitious sustainability goals and they’re under extreme pressure to deliver on them,” said Steve Hornyak, chief commercial officer, BrightDrop. “The quicker we can electrify commercial fleets, the quicker we'll help combat climate change. We’re laser-focused on scaling production to deliver for our customers, and the planet.”

GM Photo

Mary Conway is a professional automotive journalist and has decades of experience specializing in automotive news analysis. She covered the Detroit Three for more than twenty years for the ABC affiliate, in Detroit. Her affection for the Motor City comes naturally. Her father ran a gas station while Mary was growing up, in Wisconsin.

Follow Mary Conway at @maryconwaymedia and send her car news tips for future stories.