General Motors is flicking the switch at its electric van factory.
The automaker’s new BrightDrop commercial van subsidiary has officially started large-scale production of its cargo vans at GM’s CAMI plant in Ontario, Canada.
It is marking the occasion with the announcement that DHL Express Canada has begun taking deliveries of the BrightDrop 600, which has 600 cubic feet of cargo space and a driving range of 250 miles per charge.
BrightDrop president and CEO Travis Katz told FOX Business the company is on track to ramp up to a production rate of 50,000 trucks per year by 2025.
Exact pricing for the commercial-focused vehicle hasn’t been announced, but Katz said that while it is a "bit more expensive" than a diesel van up front, the payback on energy and maintenance costs is quick.
"The economics are quite compelling. Customers on average will save 10,000 per vehicle per year, and that’s before the impact of EV credits are factored in," Katz said.
BrightDrop’s closest competitor among major automakers is the Ford E-Transit, which is currently priced at $59,605 for a 487.3 cubic-foot model that has a range of 108 miles per charge. The E-Transit shares its platform with internal combustion-powered versions of the Transit that are also offered in retail and passenger van configurations.
DHL on Monday also announced that it will add 2,000 E-Transits to its global fleet by the end of 2023.
Katz did not say how many vans were purchased by DHL Express Canada, but the delivery company will also be testing BrightDrop’s Trace eCart, which is a battery-powered cart designed for being pulled to and from the van with reduced effort.
The BrightDrop van was the fastest vehicle ever developed by General Motors, taking just 20 months from concept to first delivery. Katz said the company is on now on track to become one of, and possibly the fastest to reach $1 billion in revenue, which it hopes to achieve in 2023.