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General Motors (GM) Resorts to Kuka to Build Initial Batch of EV600

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Per Reuters, General Motors (GM - Free Report) will be falling back on Kuka AG to build the initial low-volume production run of its new all-electric light commercial delivery van — EV600. Kuka was recently named GM Supplier of the Year at the General Motors' 29th annual "Supplier of the Year Awards".

General Motors’ decision to resort to the German parts supplier to make the initial batch of EV600 has been made in order to be on track with the plan to roll out the vehicle by late 2021. Moreover, it showcases the automaker’s desire to fulfill the market demand and get the vehicle quickly into the hands of its first customer — FedEx Express.

Kuka's production run for EV600 will commence in late October at its plant in Livonia, MI, and produce less than 500 hand-built models.

Ultimately, the EV600 van will be developed at General Motors’ CAMI assembly plant in Ontario. Currently, the CAMI plant builds the Chevrolet Equinox SUV, production of which is anticipated to end by next April.

General Motors plans to invest $800 million in the CAMI plant for the EV600 van’s production. Once the Canadian plant is ready, it is anticipated to commence the production of the electric van by November 2022 and then increase the number of shifts to two in 2023 and three in 2024. In fact, the automaker will work in close harmony with supplier partners to meet its time schedule.  

General Motors rolled out its new business unit — BrightDrop — this January. This unit has been particularly designed to offer an integrated ecosystem of electric first-to-last-mile products, software and services, aimed at helping delivery and logistics companies transfer goods efficiently.
BrightDrop initially served customers in the United States and Canada. It is helping take General Motors’ vision of zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion several notches higher.

BrightDrop’s second product is EV600, which will be the first commercial vehicle equipped with General Motors' next-generation Ultium battery system with an estimated range of up to 250 miles on a full charge. With this, BrightDrop introduces the automaker’s Ultium platform to the commercial vehicle segment, featuring Level 2 and DC fast charging capabilities.

The EV600 will provide a zero-emission transportation solution, in combination with a range of advanced safety and convenience features more common in consumer electric vehicles (EVs). Its first 500 units will be shipped to FedEx Express by the end of this year, with deliveries to other customers, beginning early 2022.

With companies like FedEx, Amazon and United Parcel Service vowing to transit their large delivery fleets to EVs, the electric commercial van business has become very attractive with automakers like General Motors, Ford (F - Free Report) , Stellantis (STLA - Free Report) racing to introduce their EV delivery vans in the market. However, this is one sector that EV giant Tesla (TSLA - Free Report) is yet to navigate to.

With its BrightDrop delivery business, General Motors is able to capitalize on this trending race and meet the surging demand for urban last-mile delivery, while also reducing the carbon impact on the planet. Moreover, the automaker has provided a one-stop-shop solution for commercial customers enabling them to deliver goods in an efficient and more sustainable manner. This fresh business unit has unlocked new opportunities in the B2B sector for the company, while also expanding its Ultium platform.
General Motors currently flaunts a Zacks Rank of 1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

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