Published on November 17, 2023, 4:10 am

BrightDrop, the commercial electric vehicle (EV) subsidiary of General Motors (GM), is merging with its parent company. GM announced that BrightDrop, which started as a startup within the automaker’s Global Innovation organization and became a wholly owned subsidiary, will now become part of GM. As part of this transition, BrightDrop CEO Travis Katz has stepped down from his position and will no longer be employed by GM. However, BrightDrop CTO Anthony Armenta will remain with the company and join the leadership team at GM’s software division.

While some positions may be eliminated due to this merger, GM expects that the majority of affected employees will have the opportunity to move to other positions within the company. This strategic move to absorb BrightDrop into GM is seen as beneficial for fleet customers who can now have a more efficient single point of contact through GM Envolve, the new commercial brand created by GM.

GM Envolve was launched in May 2023 and encompasses the automaker’s complete range of commercial offerings, including both gas-powered and EV vehicles, as well as connected services and software used by fleet customers. BrightDrop was initially established to cater to commercial customers by providing them with an ecosystem of electric and connected products. Its product lineup includes an electric van called the EV600 and an electric pallet known as EP1.

Incorporating BrightDrop into GM allows for a comprehensive solution for fleet customers’ business needs. Rory Harvey, EVP and President at GM North America, stated in an email that they are committed to helping their fleet customers propel their businesses forward by offering innovative commercial solutions and EV options under one roof.

The idea behind creating BrightDrop originated from a team within Global Innovation that was analyzing the growth of e-commerce and increasing consumer demand for online delivery accelerated by COVID-19. Initially positioned as an independent startup-like entity within GM, BrightDrop aimed to swiftly capture market share in this evolving landscape. Katz previously highlighted the importance of data collected from commercial EVs, indicating that it could help build lasting relationships. By tracking logistics, such as delivery routes and package movements, potential bottlenecks and inefficiencies can be identified and addressed.

GM had set ambitious goals for BrightDrop and projected it would reach $1 billion in revenue by 2023 during its investor day in November. The subsidiary received over 25,000 customer reservations and letters of intent, including interest from prominent companies like Walmart, Hertz, and FedEx. However, specific financial information related to BrightDrop’s performance has not been disclosed by GM.

By integrating BrightDrop into its operations, GM aims to strengthen its position in the commercial electrification market while paving the way for further innovation and growth in this sector.

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