GM Absorbs BrightDrop Commercial EV Unit, CEO To Leave

General Motors has announced that it has absorbed BrightDrop, its electric commercial vehicle subsidiary that had been its wholly owned subsidiary since January 2021.

Born from GM’s Innovation Lab, BrightDrop has acted as a tech startup within General Motors and had operational freedom over the past three years, but starting November 16 it is being integrated “even tighter” into the parent company.

“Starting today, BrightDrop will become part of GM. We believe that this move will benefit our fleet customers by providing them with an efficient single point of contact through GM Envolve,” the automaker said in a press release announcing the move.

GM Envolve is a business unit created in May that includes products, technologies, and services for fleet customers.

General Motors said the reorganization of its electric commercial vehicle unit will help reduce costs, according to Reuters. The company also said BrightDrop’s CEO, Travis Katz, would leave at an unspecified date but did not provide details about his departure.

“As BrightDrop has matured, we are now bringing that ethos back to GM so our work is more efficient and so BrightDrop’s startup spirit can help fuel further success with GM’s commercial customers,” the company said.

GM added that not much will change from a manufacturing standpoint, as the company “remains committed to scaling BrightDrop Zevo production.”

BrightDrop Zevo 400 and Zevo 600 production is currently paused, but GM expects it to resume in spring 2024, when CAMI’s new battery-module plant in Canada will go online to support production of the EVs.

“This new battery-module line will have capacity to fully support Zevo production at CAMI and supplement EV production at other GM plants,” GM said.

EV production at the CAMI Assembly Plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, was halted in October because of delays in the delivery of needed Ultium battery modules that power the EVs.

Going forward, the BrightDrop Zevo 400 and Zevo 600 electric delivery vans will remain part of GM Envolve’s commercial fleet offerings, the carmaker said. In addition, GM is combining all commercial digital solutions, including BrightDrop Core, into its software and services organization.

General Motors told The Detroit News that BrightDrop’s absorption could affect a small number of the electric commercial vehicle unit’s employees, though most are expected to integrate into GM.

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