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ELMS passes first test, delivers first EV cargo van ahead of schedule

Vehicle maker makes 1st delivery to Randy Marion Automotive Group 2 days before Q4 goal

Electric Last Mile Solutions employees gather around the first Class 1 Urban Delivery van to roll off the assembly line at its Mishawaka, Indiana. The vehicle was handed over to Randy Marion Automotive Group. (Photo: ELMS)

The first step in the mission to launch a Class 1 electric delivery van has been reached with Electric Last Mile Solutions announcing on Wednesday that it has delivered the first Urban Delivery van from its Indiana assembly facility.

The vehicle was handed over to Randy Marion Automotive Group, a large nationwide commercial dealership group. Just last week, the dealer announced an order for 1,000 of the EVs.

“There is no doubt that the commercial last-mile delivery market is demanding electric vehicles and ELMS is leading the charge,” said Randy Marion, founder and CEO of Randy Marion Automotive Group. “Our customers are excited to get their hands on the Urban Delivery vehicle for their many use cases, including e-commerce transportation, utilities, telecommunications and other commercial vehicle applications.”

The delivery of the vehicle, though, is only a beginning for ELMS (NASDAQ: ELMS) in what has been a whirlwind year so far.

“This launch and delivery marks a key milestone for Electric Last Mile Solutions, our partners and our shareholders. We are now delivering our transformative and sustainable EV solutions to commercial customers and solidifying our first-mover status in the segment,” said James Taylor, ELMS co-founder and CEO. “Supported by a seasoned workforce at a plant that has produced American icons, ELMS has positioned itself at the vanguard of the commercial electrification movement. We now look forward to continuing our momentum and ramping to mass production to meet our customer demand.”

In June, ELMS went public through a reverse merger with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Forum Merger III Corp. After an initial spike in price, ELMS stock has been trending downward, opening at $7.72 per share Wednesday morning, down from a high of $12.03 on June 30. The stock was up about 4% in midmorning trading.

Read: Funding in hand, ELMS readies for electric vehicle launch later this year

Read: ELMS to show prototype Class 3 electric van at FedEx event

Taylor had previously told Modern Shipper that it was targeting Q4 for delivery of the vehicles, so ELMS came in just ahead of that deadline with the first delivery taking place on the next-to-last day of Q3.

Assembly of the vehicle is taking place at the old General Motors (NYSE: GM) Mishawaka, Indiana, plant that used to make the Hummer model. The Urban Delivery has a range of 250 miles. It is based on a Chinese design and adapted for the North American market, leading to lower costs than competitors like Rivian, Taylor had said.

The batteries and power system will come from China but the skateboard chassis will be sourced in the U.S. This approach helps ELMS avoid costs to retrofit the chassis for electric motors. Unlike competitive vehicles, ELMS’ products are purpose-built for commercial use, Taylor noted. Its Urban Delivery van features a 42-kilowatt battery and between 170 and 180 cubic feet of cargo capacity.

The pure-play electric vehicle maker showed a prototype of its Class 3 vehicle, what it is calling the Urban Utility, at the Route Consultant Contractor Expo, a FedEx (NYSE: FDX) contractor event, in July. The larger Class 3 Urban Utility will have an estimated range of 250 miles unloaded with an expected payload of 5,700 pounds. A variety of cargo box lengths will be available. The vehicle is being prepared for a second-half 2022 launch, the company said.

On Tuesday, electric vehicle competitor BrightDrop announced it will launch a smaller cargo van, the EV410, with 400 cubic feet of cargo space. That vehicle, set for a 2023 debut, will join its larger all-electric EV600 cargo van, which FedEx has been testing and will be using on some routes this holiday season. Verizon has committed to buying an undisclosed number of the EV410 vans.

BrightDrop also said its EV600 entered production this week.

“Getting our first electric vehicles on the streets in record time before another peak holiday shipping season is the best gift we could receive this year, especially when we consider the supply chain headwinds the world is facing right now,” said Travis Katz, BrightDrop president and CEO. “This is a strong statement to the market of how our unique operation’s setup, which marries the cutting-edge innovation, agility and focus of a technology startup with the scale and manufacturing might of a major automaker, can deliver real value to both customers and the planet.”

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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]