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BrightDrop adds DHL Express as EV customer, announces start of production at CAMI plant

DHL Express Canada becomes first international customer for growing EV business

BrightDrop said large-scale production of its vans will begin at its Ontario, Canada, assembly plant, and DHL Express is adding the EVs to its fleet. (Photo: BrightDrop)

If BrightDrop is not the leader in the clubhouse of electric delivery van makers, it certainly is making a strong case to be. The company on Monday announced large-scale production at its redesigned CAMI Assembly plant in Ontario, Canada, and added DHL Express Canada as its first international customer.

This follows by mere weeks an announcement from CEO and President Travis Katz that the General Motors-backed company was on track to generate $1 billion in revenue in 2023.

Launched in 2021 with an $800 million investment from parent company GM (NYSE: GM), BrightDrop has announced a series of commitments from large corporations. BrightDrop said it has over 25,000 reservations and letters of intent for its vehicles. It started delivering Zevo 600 vans to FedEx Express in December 2021 and has delivered more than 150 to date. In January of this year, BrightDrop announced Walmart had placed an order for 7,000 vehicles and FedEx was expanding its initial order of 500 vehicles to as many as 20,000 units. Hertz, Verizon and Merchants Fleet have also announced intentions to adopt BrightDrop vehicles.

Now it is adding DHL Express Canada to the list. It didn’t say how many vehicles DHL would deploy, but the first vans will enter operation early next year. DHL is currently piloting BrightDrop’s Trace eCarts and software platform in Toronto, with additional regions to follow.

“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 Katz. “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.”

A BrightDrop employee works on a new BrightDrop Zevo 600 electric van at the company’s CAMI Assembly plant in Ontario, Canada. (Photo: BrightDrop)

The Trace eCart is a temperature-controlled electric cart that allows grocers to pack the unit directly from store shelves and station it outside for customer pickup. Customers are given digital verification codes to access their items inside the Trace Grocery unit.

The system can move up to 350 pounds at a speed of 3 mph to match an operator’s walking speed. It has nine compartments.

BrightDrop also recently announced BrightDrop Core, which combines hardware and software to reduce total cost of ownership of BrightDrop vehicles. It features a fleet-readiness dashboard, asset monitoring, historical reporting and customizable alerts.

“As the world’s most international logistics company, we understand the important role we can play in pioneering climate-friendly operations, which is why we’re so pleased to be BrightDrop’s customer in Canada as they invest in local Canadian communities, create unique employment opportunities and promote the growth of sustainable transportation,” said Andrew Williams, CEO for DHL Express Canada. “DHL made a commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, and as we continue to invest in our electric ground fleet worldwide, which now includes 27,000 electric vehicles, relationships such as the one we’re launching with BrightDrop in Canada helps bring us closer to our sustainability goals while also supporting our customers with their own climate goals.”

The CAMI Assembly plant is expected to produce 50,000 Zevo vans annually by 2025. The Zevo 600 model will begin production in January with the smaller Zero 400 model starting later in the year.

Click for more articles by Brian Straight.

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Brian Straight

Brian Straight leads FreightWaves' Modern Shipper brand as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler. You can reach him at [email protected]