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GM EV van startup BrightDrop to outsource early production

The electric commercial van manufacturer plans to use supplier Kuka to meet its late 2021 launch date.

GM BrightDrop EV600
BrightDrop's first 500 or so vans will likely be built by an outside supplier.

General Motors' electric commercial van startup BrightDrop is seemingly on track to make its late 2021 on-sale goal, but it's meeting that deadline in an unconventional way, according to a report Monday by Reuters.

That unconventional way involves GM outsourcing the production of the first batch of vans to a German company called Kuka. This isn't a long-term solution, but GM is still in the process of redoing its CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ontario. This is the facility that currently produces the Chevrolet Equinox (until April 2022, anyway).

"The interest we're receiving is significant," BrightDrop CEO Travis Katz said in a statement. "We are working alongside Kuka for initial low-volume production to keep up with market demand and remain on track to deliver our first EV600 order later this year. Production will shift to GM's CAMI Assembly beginning in November 2022, which will be converted into a dedicated EV plant for long-term large-scale BrightDrop EV600 production."

GM's early production partner Kuka is no stranger to the automotive industry, having previously worked with the likes of Ford, BMW, Volkswagen and Volvo. Kuka's planned production run for GM is expected to be limited to around 500 units, and the assembly will take place at Kuka's facility in Livonia, Michigan.

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