GM's BrightDrop startup begins series production at CAMI Assembly plant in Ontario after a year of small-volume production.
The electric van is offered in two wheelbases with a top range of about 250 miles on a full charge.
BrightDrop has recently added DHL Canada to its list of commercial customers.
BrightDrop has been building its electric vans on a small volume basis for about a year. But now it will crank up production as its plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, is fully ready. GM has converted its CAMI Assembly plant to high-volume EV production over the past year.
The last-mile delivery EV startup launched its first commercial vans around this time a year ago, in addition to opening its first dealership. Now is the time to put the pedal to the metal for the new EV brand as competitors scramble to get a slice of this emerging segment.
"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 addition, this month BrightDrop has entered its first international market with DHL Express Canada signing on to purchase the zero-emission vans. Collectively, more than 30 commercial customers including Walmart, Verizon, and Hertz have reserved more than 25,000 Ultium-powered BrightDrop vans.
"Our international expansion is proof that we can deliver exactly what our customers need where they need it," Katz added. "Having DHL Express Canada come onboard as a new customer shows the confidence legacy brands have in our ability to deliver."
The startup now faces a slightly more varied cast of competitors than it did a year ago, with Rivian's purpose-built Amazon van having entered series production this summer, while Canoo started testing its own electric delivery vans with Walmart on a small scale in August.
The British startup Arrival, however, is now the American startup Arrival, having made plans to relocate all of its production stateside, but the start of assembly is still firmly in 2023 in a best-case scenario.
A handful of companies like Rivian, BrightDrop, and Ford with its e-Transit models have an early share of the market, while a number of others have seemingly struggled to get going, or are targeting more niche segments with Level 4 autonomous delivery robots with some modest success, as in the case of Nuro.
But even early gains in this field is by no means a guarantee of mid- or long-term success, as we have seen time and again.