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Merchants Fleet orders 12,600 GM BrightDrop electric vans

Automaker’s new subsidiary adds second major customer after FedEx Express

Merchants Fleet is purchasing 12,600 BrightDrop electric vans from the new General Motors subsidiary. (Photo: Merchants Fleet)

BrightDrop, the new General Motors (NYSE: GM) subsidiary creating an ecosystem of electric light commercial delivery vans and connected pallets, will sell 12,600 of its EV600 vans to Merchants Fleet.

Merchants Fleet describes itself as the nation’s fast-growing fleet management company. It will take delivery of the vans beginning in early 2023. BrightDrop’s first customer, FedEx Express (NYSE: FDX), will receive the first of 500 vans it has ordered by the end of this year.

“Merchants Fleet is fully committed to the future of electrification, and working to add BrightDrop EV600s to our clients’ fleets is an exciting part of our broader strategy,” Brendan P. Keegan, CEO of Merchants Fleet, said in a press release.

“We are dedicated to educating, deploying and infusing the fleet industry with EVs,” Keegan said. “Our commitment is to have 50% of our Mobility fleet electric by 2025 and 50% of our managed clients’ fleets by 2030.”

Just the vans, please

Merchants Fleet is passing for now on BrightDrop’s EP1 propulsion-assisted pallet. The connected device can move 23 cubic feet of cargo weighing up to 200 pounds over short distances.

The EV600 gross vehicle weight rating is less than 10,000 pounds. It has more than 600 cubic feet of cargo area. Motion sensors help keep cargo secure. The EV600 is powered by GM’s Ultimum battery system. Estimated driving range on a full charge is 250 miles. With 120-kilowatt (kW) fast charging, the EV600 can add 170 miles of range in an hour.

The BrightDrop vans will be built in Ingersoll, Ontario, at a GM of Canada plant that makes the small SUV crossover Chevrolet Equinox. No production start is public, GM spokeswoman Katie Downey told FreightWaves.

GM will focus on direct business-to-business sales but will eventually have BrightDrop dealerships, she said.

“Merchants Fleet’s move to add such a large number of BrightDrop EV600s to their portfolio signals their strong commitment to accelerate the electric fleet movement,” BrightDrop President and CEO Travis Katz said.

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Click for more FreightWaves articles by Alan Adler.

Alan Adler

Alan Adler is an award-winning journalist who worked for The Associated Press and the Detroit Free Press. He also spent two decades in domestic and international media relations and executive communications with General Motors.