ONTARIO: General Motors Co says DHL Express Canada is its first customer outside the United States as the first electric delivery trucks roll off production lines at BrightDrop’s new factory, the upstart unit of the automotive giant.
GM spent seven months and more than US$2bil (RM8.75bil) transforming its two million square foot Cami Assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, into Canada’s first large-scale electric vehicle (EV) factory for BrightDrop Zevo delivery trucks.
Before the switch, the site manufactured the petrol-powered Chevy Equinox.
Opening the retooled plant “is a major step to providing EVs at scale,” BrightDrop chief executive Travis Katz told Reuters prior to the event. He expects the facility to turn out 50,000 Zevo electric vans annually by 2025.
Its debut comes as GM’s fast-growing commercial EV unit races rivals, including Ford Motor Co, Rivian Automotive Inc, Stellantis and Arrival for dominance in the electric delivery truck market.
BrightDrop’s relationship with GM gives it manufacturing and financial clout that several of its rival EV startups lack, experts said.
“That allows us to go faster,” Katz said.
BrightDrop launched in 2021 and is forecast to reap its first US$1bil (RM4.38bil) in sales next year, said Katz, who added that it took Tesla Inc a decade to hit the same milestone.
BrightDrop previously made vans in a temporary factory in Michigan. It already has delivered 150 electric trucks to package carrier FedEx Corp.
The company’s other United States customers include retailer Walmart Inc and communications provider Verizon Communications Inc.
Those companies and many others have set goals to replace petrol-burning delivery trucks and service vehicles with zero-emissions alternatives over time.
DHL Express Canada’s new relationship with BrightDrop “will help bring us closer to that target,” chief executive officer Andrew Williams said. — Reuters