BrightDrop Delivers the First 150 EV Vans to FedEx

·3 min read
Photo credit: BrightDrop
Photo credit: BrightDrop
  • FedEx receives first batch of 150 Zevo 600 electric trucks from BrightDrop, part of a larger order of over 2000 vans.

  • Full-scale production of Zevo vans in two wheelbase options is expected to start later this year as GM completes the refurbishment of a factory in Ingersoll, Ontario.

  • A number of logistics giants, as well as big box stores, have placed orders for electric delivery vans, with this segment expected to lead the way for EV adoption among large companies.

BrightDrop has handed over the first big batch of electric delivery vans to FedEx, marking an important milestone for GM's EV-only commercial van startup. Assembly of the Zevo 600 vans began last summer, making them the first vehicles to use GM's Ultium platform to enter production, and a few examples delivered to the logistics giant in the days before the busy holiday season.

This week's delivery is the first big chunk of a commercial order for some 2500 vans ordered by FedEx.

"In just under six months, we've taken delivery of 150 BrightDrop Zevo 600s for our parcel pickup and delivery fleet," said Mitch Jackson, chief sustainability officer, FedEx. "In today's climate of chip shortages and supply chain issues, that's no ordinary feat and a true testament to the collaboration between FedEx and BrightDrop."

The Zevo 600, previously known as the EV600, is the larger of the two commercial van models launched by the company, and is assembled on a small-volume basis for now, before its own factory in Ingersoll, Ontario, is fully ready by the end of the year. The second, smaller van is the Zevo 410, and was revealed only last fall, featuring a shorter wheelbase and just over 400 cubic feet of cargo space, compared to 600 in the larger van.

Photo credit: BrightDrop
Photo credit: BrightDrop

The two vans models offer up to 250 miles on a single charge, which is plenty for logistics giants, as vans tend to cover a much smaller distance in a 24-hour cycle and are recharged at their bases overnight.

"Our Zevo 600 has been a record-setting vehicle from the start," said Travis Katz, president and CEO of BrightDrop. "From a record-setting time to market, to delivering one of the largest fleets of electric delivery vans on the road today, BrightDrop is showing the world what sustainable delivery looks like."

Zevo production is expected to accelerate later this year as assembly moves to Ontario, as at the moment the vans are assembled by a GM manufacturing partner. The startup has orders from other commercial fleets as well, including a 5000-unit order from Walmart and 5400 from Merchants Fleet.

Of course, BrightDrop still has a few competitors, including established automakers and startups, so it doesn't quite have this segment all to itself. Electric delivery vans had been around for years, usually as conversions of gas- and diesel-engined models, but it wasn't until a few years ago that companies started making plans for their mass production, with a number of new players like Arrival jockeying for position.

The delivery of this batch of 150 electric vans is another example of how it is this type of commercial electric truck that will lead the way for EV adoption among companies, more so than larger semi trucks that have received plenty of publicity in recent years, but have yet to materialize in any great number.

Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned