Here’s what I learned from my time with the 2024 BrightDrop Zevo 600

  • Offers 614.7 cubic feet of cargo space & 1,460 lbs. of payload capacity
  • Delivers up to 250 miles of range (GM est.)
  • On sale in the U.S. and available to reserve in Canada
  • Gathers 25,000 reservations and expressions of interest in North America

The BrightDrop Zevo 600 (originally called BrightDrop EV600) is the first electric van from GM’s new brand that caters to the commercial delivery and logistics industry. Launched in December 2021, it has been on the market for more than two years, but its availability has been extremely limited. The futuristic van is still a rare sight, so when I got the opportunity to see it in person, I spent a good amount of time exploring all its design details and features. Here are my first impressions of the BrightDrop Zevo 600:

Design

Though big and boxy, I think the BrightDrop Zevo 600 looks quite contemporary for a vehicle of its type. GM designed the Zevo 600 as an EV from the outset, and I’ve noticed that it sits lower than traditional delivery vans.

I like the slim LED headlamps, which, along with the protruding lower front fascia, give the van an assertive look. The Zevo 600 features rain-sensing windshield wipers, LED tail lamps, a roll-up cargo door (rear), and a rear step bumper as well. This unit has been painted in the optional Oyster White color. Moreover, it is equipped with 17-inch white steel wheels and heated, power-adjustable mirrors with puddle lamps, both of which are optional features.

Interior

The Zevo 600 has noticeably large doors that are nearly 3 ft. wide. I think entering and exiting the electric van with large and heavy packages in the hands should be easier and safer compared to traditional delivery vans.

I like the minimalist, car-like interior of the Zevo 600, and I think it’s quite premium for a van. The contemporary design of the dashboard, the 11-inch free-standing digital instrument cluster and 11.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system, and the sleek right AC vents and compact central AC vents lend a low-profile, sophisticated styling to the interior.

I appreciate GM being generous with conventional switches, buttons, and dials for the driver’s convenience. When I tinkered around with some of these controls, I felt that they were of much higher quality than traditional vans. The dashboard includes two storage bins on the top and two big cupholders as well. There’s a small jump seat for a passenger, but that is an optional feature. Orange seatbelts and a heating function for the driver seat and the steering wheel are also among the optional features of this particular Zevo 600.

GM has borrowed several parts from its existing models from other brands. The steering wheel is similar to the one found in the Chevrolet Silverado and other trucks, the shifter takes on the unit of the GMC Hummer EV Pickup, the infotainment system reminds of the GMC Yukon, and the instrument cluster comes from the Chevrolet Bolt.

The cargo area of the Zevo 600 is pretty tall and features two motion-activated LED lights. I’m six feet tall, and based on my experience, I can say that people slightly taller than me also would be able to walk into the cargo area easily.

Fleet Management & Safety

One of the major convenience features of the Zevo 600 for fleet operators is a fleet management platform. They can get a real-time status of the Zevo 600, track it, and apply geofencing to restrict usage outside the designated area. Moreover, it’s possible to manage non-BrightDrop vehicles, which makes the BrightDrop platform a one-stop fleet management solution. Remote Diagnostics and OTA updates allow remotely analyzing vehicle data and fixing certain technical issues in the vehicle. Below are the other fleet management features:

  • Safety Incidence Recording
  • In-Vehicle Driver Coaching
  • Battery and Charge Management
  • Energy Management For Route Planning
  • Vehicle Health and Predictive Maintenance
  • Diagnostic/Safety Alerts
  • Maintenance Scheduler
  • Part Pre-Staging and Inventory
  • Repair Order and Part Ticket Management
  • Warranty and Core Management

To ensure the security of the goods, GM equips the Zevo 600 with a cargo area security system and motion sensors, an auto-locking mechanism for the sliding bulkhead door, and motion-activated interior LED lighting. On the safety front, Front and Rear Park Assist, Automatic Emergency Braking, Forward Collision Alert, Front Pedestrian Braking, and HD backup camera are part of the standard equipment. HD Surround Vision around view monitor, Rear Pedestrian Alert, and Blind Zone Steering Assist are available optionally.

Speaking to Forbes, Zevo 600 Chief Engineer Bill Venner said that GM built the new electric van with learnings obtained from its customers. The company laid emphasis on aspects like the seating position and comfort, the step-in height, and features like iPlay, air conditioning, sliding doors, and a cargo door. Safety, which most van makers don’t pay a lot of attention to, didn’t go unnoticed either. Unlike many commercial vans, the Zevo 600 has airbags, AEB and LKA.

RollAway electric van

GM has inked a deal with Sunnyvale, California-based startup RollAway to extend the application of its BrightDrop electric vans to drive-in hospitality, a new category of the hospitality industry. Rollaway plans to offer three types of modified BrightDrop electric vans in which travelers can get a motorhome experience: GlampVan, QuadVan, and LuxVan.

RollAway BrightDrop van
The RollAway BrightDrop van is “the ultimate stay on wheels.” Image Source: RollAway

GlampVan has a queen-sized bed for two guests, a full bathroom, a living/dining area, and a kitchenette. The QuadVan has a queen-sized bunk bed for four guests instead of GlampVan’s regular queen-sized bed. LuxVan takes things a notch above, offering a plush queen-sized bed, premium furniture and decor, a spa-class bathroom, a spacious living/dining area, and a fully equipped kitchenette.

RollAway guests can enjoy five-star onboard services and amenities like Starlink satellite Wi-Fi, spa-class toiletries, virtual concierge, sustainable farm-to-table breakfast, YETI amenities, and more. Initially, RollAway will deploy its modified BrightDrop electric vans in the San Francisco Bay Area. Pre-bookings are already open.

Specifications

The BrightDrop Zevo 600 is a full-size electric van GM developed in just 20 months, which was a new development timeline record for the company. It enables customers to make tailpipe emission-free delivery of goods and services over long ranges.

The Zevo 600 measures 290” in length, 87” in width, and 109” in height. Its rear doorway is 58” wide and 72” tall. Thanks to a gross vehicle weight rating of under 10,000 lbs. (9,900 lb.s), there’s no need for additional licensing to drive it. The full-size electric van offers 614.7 cu. ft. of cargo space and 1,460 lbs. of payload capacity.

Thanks to two motors, one powering the front wheels and the other pushing the rear wheels, the Zevo 600 has all-wheel drive capability. These motors produce 300 hp and 390 lb.-ft. of torque. The electric van has one-pedal driving capability as well.

BrightDrop Zevo 600 FedEx Express fleet
BrightDrop Zevo 600 (BrightDrop EV600) deliveries began in December 2021, with FedEx taking the keys to the first vans. Image Source: GM

GM hasn’t disclosed the energy content of the Zevo 600’s battery pack yet (reportedly 165 kWh), but it has revealed it’s a 20-module Ultium battery pack that can provide a range of up to 250 miles (GM est.). This battery pack powers two motors that give the EV an AWD drivetrain layout. According to a GM Authority report, the upcoming FWD variant gets a 24-module battery pack and a single motor, which should offer a longer range. The Zevo 600 AWD’s peak DC fast-charging rate is 120 kW, and GM estimates charging using that method for an hour should provide 170 miles of range.

Driving impressions

In 2022, Motor Trend drove the BrightDrop Zevo 600 in an upcoming single-motor FWD configuration which has half the power and torque that’s available in the AWD configuration. It said that the new electric van is easy to drive.

Without cargo, the Zevo 600 single-motor FWD offered plenty of torque right from the start and allowed one-pedal driving. It was easily maneuverable for a van its size, to a surprising extent. Overall, compared to old-school ICE step vans, it was a car-like and comfortable experience, MT concluded. Also worth noting is that most customers aren’t using the 120 kW fast-charging capability, finding Level 2 charging (overnight) convenient.

2024 Brightdrop Zevo 600 side profile
The BrightDrop Zevo 600 can provide a range of nearly 260 miles in real-world conditions, if driven with a light foot.

Ars Technica also drove the Zevo 600 and shared a short review. The tech publication suggests the electric van misses the refinement one expects from an EV, but given that it’s a commercial vehicle, it doesn’t hold it against the van. It’s easy to drive despite the size, and one-pedal driving works perfectly. The steering is light, and the turning circle is impressively low, which means the electric van scores impressively in maneuverability.

There’s a good amount of connectivity tech and other vital electronics needed in today’s world, and there’s plenty of room. The space between the door and the cargo is particularly wide. The energy efficiency reading on the instrument cluster during Ars Technica’s brief drive was a decent 1.8 miles/kWh over 348 miles. No less than 260 miles of the drive was at highway speed.

Guinness World Record attempt

BrightDrop driver Stephen Marlin has successfully attempted a Guinness World Records range drive in the Zevo 600. Marlin drove the Zevo 600 for nearly 260 miles in a trip from New York City to Washington, D.C. on a single charge. This is the longest distance an electric van has covered on a single charge. Marlin made stops at some iconic destinations during the trip, including landmarks in Philadelphia and Baltimore.

Production & Deliveries

Production of the BrightDrop Zevo 600 started at a Kuka factory in Livonia (Michigan), USA, in 2021. GM then announced that it was relocating production to its CAMI Assembly plant in Ingersoll (Ontario), Canada. On December 5, 2022, GM started manufacturing the BrightDrop Zevo 600 at its CAMI Assembly plant, which is Canada’s first full-scale EV production facility. The production is on hold at the moment because of a shortage of battery modules, and it will resume on April 1, 2024, as per a report Automotive News Canada reported on February 21, 2024.

BrightDrop Zevo 600 the CAMI Assembly plant
GM’s CAMI Assembly plant in Ingersoll (Ontario), Canada, is home to the BrightDrop Zevo 600. Image Source: GM

On April 3, 2023, GM announced that logistics and transportation company Ryder plans to acquire 4,000 units of the Zevo 600 and Zevo 400 combined for its lease and rental fleet through 2025. It is one of GM’s 30+ BrightDrop customers, which includes big names like FedEx, DHL Express, Hertz, and Walmart. The company delivered just 483 units of the Zevo 600 in 2023.

FedEx

BrightDrop Zevo 600 deliveries started on December 17, 2021, with FedEx Express taking the keys to the first five units in Inglewood, California. FedEx initially reserved 500 BrightDrop electric light commercial vehicles, and these are a part of that order. Later, the company made a reservation for 2,000 BrightDrop electric delivery vans. Further ahead, it could add up to 20,000 additional BrightDrop EVs.

BrightDrop Zevo 600 front close for Fedex
FedEx was the BrightDrop Zevo 600’s first customer. Image Source: FedEx

On June 21, 2022, FedEx announced FedEx Express had received its first 150 BrightDrop EVs from GM. The company’s Chief Sustainability Officer Mitch Jackson thinks that’s an impressive delivery number given the problems in the auto industry, including chip shortages and supply chain issues. GM delivered the first 150 units throughout Southern California. FedEx is building charging infrastructure at its facilities to support the adoption of EVs. The company has installed 500+ charging stations across California. By 2040, the entire FedEx parcel pickup and delivery (PUD) will switch to pure electric vehicles.

Walmart

Walmart has also decided to purchase BrightDrop electric delivery vans, and it has signed an agreement to reserve 5,000 units of Zevo 600 and Zevo 400 (a midsize electric LCV) combined. Merchants Fleet is also among the customers of BrightDrop electric vans. GM says that it has more than 25,000 reservations for BrightDrop EVs, and the Rivian EDV 700 (Rivian Amazon van) is the closest competitor of the Zevo 600.

GM said in its shareholder letter dated February 2, 2022, that it recorded EBIT-adjusted financial results of USD 14.3 billion in 2021. This will allow GM to invest more in its BrightDrop business and expand its commercial portfolio. GM said that the use of EVs will allow customers to make their delivery operations efficient and green. With GM’s USD 7 billion investment for expansion of battery cell and EV assembly capacity, expect GM’s subsidiaries like BrightDrop to fare even better in the future.

BrightDrop Canada

GM launched BrightDrop in Canada the same day it started making the Zevo 600 in the country, and DHL Express was the brand’s first customer there. FedEx Express also uses BrightDrop Zevo 600 in Canada. The company acquired its first 50 units in June 2023. The first BrightDrop Canada dealership is located in Vaughan, Ontario. Roy Foss Automotive Group, which operates even the largest Cadillac dealership in Canada, runs the first BrightDrop Canada dealership.

TopElectricSUV says

The BrightDrop Zevo 600 is a futuristic delivery van offering impressive space and practicality and plenty of modern convenience and safety features, all with the sustainability of a zero-tailpipe emission electric powertrain and the unmissable benefit of lower running costs.