General Motors has lined up a major new customer for its new, all-electric commercial van and reiterated its support to Lordstown Motors, the Ohio EV maker preparing to launch a new electric pickup truck.
New Hampshire-based Merchants Fleet said it plans to further electrify its portfolio with 12,600 new commercial vehicles from BrightDrop, the fledgling business backed by General Motors.
“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, and their belief that BrightDrop solutions will help them and their clients achieve a greener and more efficient future,” said BrightDrop President and CEO Travis Katz in a statement.
Customer to use GM new battery system
The EV600 is powered by GM’s Ultium battery system that it’s producing in concert with South Korea’s LG Chem. The vans will be built at the GM CAMI assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, and Merchants Fleet expects the BrightDrop EV600s to enter its clients’ fleets starting in early 2023.
The new van is one of the 30 electric vehicles GM plans to launch during the next several years in a wide range of segments. GM’s goal is to sell more than a million electric vehicles annually by the middle of the decade.
Ideally for GM, thousands of those EV will be snapped up by fleet management companies, like Merchants Fleet, which is one of the nation’s fastest growing examples. BrightDrop says it is building a smarter way to deliver goods and services. The company says it plans to use electric first-to-last-mile products, software and services while improving overall sustainability.
GM renews endorsement of Lordstown Motors
In addition to the new deal, GM also offered a strong statement of support for Lordstown Motors, the new EV maker that purchased the company’s former plant in Lordstown, Ohio, hence the name.
GM said it is by working closely with Lordstown Motors Corp. to support the launch of the battery electric Endurance pickup. Lordstown Motors is in the midst of a reverse merger by DiamondPeak Holdings Corp. That deal is expected to close during the fourth quarter and the company will be listed on the Nasdaq.
Additionally, GM is investing $75 million in the company, which includes the sale of the former Lordstown Assembly plant and production equipment, noting its support for Lordstown Motors dates back to May 2019 and is part of the company’s continuing support for the Lordstown community.
GM and LG Chem have formed a joint venture and together are investing more than $2.3 billion to build a new, state-of-the-art battery cell manufacturing plant in Lordstown that will create more than 1,100 new jobs. Construction of the facility is on schedule.
The new battery cell manufacturing plant will play a critical role in GM’s commitment to an all-electric future, GM said as it announced a new investment at GM plant in Toledo, Ohio.
GM to invest more in Toledo Transmission
GM said it will invest $75 million in its Toledo, Ohio transmission manufacturing plant. The investment will increase the plant’s capacity to build 10-speed automatic transmissions that are used in GM’s full-size trucks. Work will begin immediately at the Toledo plant.
“Through this investment, we continue to take steps to strengthen our current core business and build on our significant manufacturing presence in Ohio,” said Phil Kienle, GM vice president, North America Manufacturing and Labor Relations.
Since 2009, GM has invested more than $3.3 billion in Ohio, Kienle noted. Toledo Transmission Operations opened in 1916 and now employs about 1,700.