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GM's BrightDrop EV600 all-electric van looks ready to deliver at CES 2021

With 250 miles of range, fast recharge times and a big initial order from FedEx, General Motors' electric delivery van might just beat Rivian's to market.

GM BrightDrop EV600
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GM BrightDrop EV600

This battery-powered commercial van is sure to get couriers and delivery companies all hot and bothered.

GM

During a keynote speech on Tuesday at this year's all-digital CES, General Motors CEO Mary Barra announced BrightDrop, a new logistics-focused business unit for the Detroit automaker. The cornerstone of this outfit will be the EV600, a new zero-emissions, battery-powered commercial van that promises to do a lot for delivery companies.

Powered by the automaker's much-hyped new Ultium battery system, just like the forthcoming GMC Hummer EV pickup truck and upcoming Cadillac Lyriq SUV, the all-electric EV600 promises a driving range of up to 250 miles on a full charge, far more than the forthcoming Ford E-Transit, which is slated to top out at a comparatively paltry 126 miles. Underscoring the EV600's hardworking versatility, this van offers more than 600 cubic feet of cargo area, about four times more than you get in a big honkin' SUV like a Chevy Suburban. With a gross vehicle weight rating of under 10,000 pounds, and the ability to absorb 170 miles of range per hour from a 120-kW DC fast charger, this transporter should appeal to a lot of delivery companies out there.

GM revealed its new BrightDrop business unit at CES 2021

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It will be interesting to see if GM's BrightDrop EV600 can beat Amazon-backed Rivian and its battery-powered delivery van to America's streets. With the dawn of more-affordable EVs and cloud computing, companies new and old appear to be on the verge of an all-electric gold rush in the delivery services and logistics business. Legacy automakers like GM, Ford and Mercedes-Benz have all telegraphed their intention of squaring off against startups like Rivian, Bollinger, Lordstown Motors, Workhorse and Tesla, which still has yet to deliver its electric Semi.

On the tech front, BrightDrop's EV600 features things like motion sensors in the cargo area for enhanced security, a 13.4-inch full-color infotainment screen and wide cabin walkways. When it comes to safety, this commercial van will come standard with front and rear parking sensors, automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist with lane-departure warning and automatic high beams, to name a smattering of goodies. Beyond that, customers can opt for additional features like rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot steering assist and reverse automatic braking.

GM BrightDrop

You could make a decent amount of deliveries with a driving range of 250 miles.

GM

The EV600 will be supported by the BrightDrop EP1, a unique battery-powered rolling pallet designed to help workers do more while exerting themselves less. The van will also be backed up by a range of related services, including a cloud-based software platform. Customers will be able to monitor battery charge, perform remote diagnostics, track the vehicle's location in real time and even push out over-the-air updates to provide more features or enhance security.

Lest you think this is some far-off concept that will never see the light of day, the BrightDrop EV600 is scheduled to hit the road late this year. "The first 500 units will go to FedEx," Pamela Fletcher, vice president of innovation at GM, said while speaking with media during an embargoed conference call on Monday. 

Other companies will be able to purchase vehicles from an independent BrightDrop sales and service network starting in 2022. Pricing and other important details about this all-electric commercial van have not been shared, but you can bet they will be revealed closer to the truck's general availability date. In addition to the EV600, BrightDrop is working on other medium-distance transport solutions, including vehicles that can load multiple EP1 units at once.

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craig-cole-hs
Craig Cole Former reviews editor
Craig brought 15 years of automotive journalism experience to the Cars team. A lifelong resident of Michigan, he's as happy with a wrench or welding gun in hand as he is in front of the camera or behind a keyboard. When not hosting videos or cranking out features and reviews, he's probably out in the garage working on one of his project cars. He's fully restored a 1936 Ford V8 sedan and then turned to resurrecting another flathead-powered relic, a '51 Ford Crestliner. Craig has been a proud member of the Automotive Press Association (APA) and the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA).
Craig Cole
Craig brought 15 years of automotive journalism experience to the Cars team. A lifelong resident of Michigan, he's as happy with a wrench or welding gun in hand as he is in front of the camera or behind a keyboard. When not hosting videos or cranking out features and reviews, he's probably out in the garage working on one of his project cars. He's fully restored a 1936 Ford V8 sedan and then turned to resurrecting another flathead-powered relic, a '51 Ford Crestliner. Craig has been a proud member of the Automotive Press Association (APA) and the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA).

Updated Jan. 12, 2021 6:30 a.m. PT

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Written by  Craig Cole
CNET staff -- not advertisers, partners or business interests -- determine how we review the products and services we cover. If you buy through our links, we may get paid. Reviews ethics statement
craig-cole-hs
Craig Cole Former reviews editor
Craig brought 15 years of automotive journalism experience to the Cars team. A lifelong resident of Michigan, he's as happy with a wrench or welding gun in hand as he is in front of the camera or behind a keyboard. When not hosting videos or cranking out features and reviews, he's probably out in the garage working on one of his project cars. He's fully restored a 1936 Ford V8 sedan and then turned to resurrecting another flathead-powered relic, a '51 Ford Crestliner. Craig has been a proud member of the Automotive Press Association (APA) and the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA).
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