GM (Or is it the gentler, kinder lowercase “gm” now?) recently announced several good things for its EV efforts. Bolt EV and EUV sales are going good, Brightdrop (its electric cargo van division) scored some important partnerships, and among them is a really good deal it struck with Ryder. Let’s take a good look at each of them!
Bolt EV & EUV Sales For Q1 2023
I normally despise not only the counting of beans, but the people who obsess over such things. If you’re an automotive enthusiast, you know that when an obsession with numbers overrides other considerations in marketing and business, a company’s coolest products that generate a lot of passion and loyalty in the customer base often end up on the chopping block. When quantitative thinkers aren’t balanced with qualitative thinkers, a manufacturer can produce great numbers all the way to the grave.
With that being said, let’s do some limited bean counting that doesn’t drape a wet blanket over anybody. GM says it saw a significant increase in US sales this quarter, delivering 603,208 vehicles — 18% more than the same time last year — and growing its market share by 1.5 points, the largest growth for any automaker.
While this overall news is good for shareholders and executives (a mixture of professional and part-time bean counters), here at CleanTechnica we also want to hold manufacturers’ feet to the fire on EVs and overall environmental goodness. So, we have to dig deeper and look at its EV numbers.
The great news is that the company had a third record sales quarter in a row for its Bolt EV and Bolt EUV.
“GM is off to a great start in 2023. We gained significant market share in the first quarter, pricing was strong, inventories are in very good shape, and we sold more than 20,000 EVs in a quarter for the first time,” said Steve Carlisle, GM Executive VP. “We’re leading in the fleet and commercial market, and all our brands have a lot of momentum heading into a busy season of new product launches.”
Looking forward to the rest of the year, the company says it is on track for some great things, at least compared to GM’s past EV sales and production performance (it is obviously still pretty behind Tesla). GM says it is on track to build 150,000 EVs in 2023, with only about 1/3 of those vehicles coming in the first half of the year. During the second half, GM is supposed to be ramping up production of the Cadillac Lyriq, while continuing sales of the GMC Hummer EV (truck and SUV variants). A little less than half of the planned electric vehicles (~70,000) are supposed to be Bolt and Bolt EUVs.
The continued emphasis on the Bolt family of EVs may seem weird to people used to nicer vehicles, but it appears to be part of GM’s overall strategy of chasing the bottom 20% of the new car market. Like the comparable Chevrolet Trax, the Bolt and Bolt EUV start in that segment. Sadly, though, the 70,000 planned budget EVs are a drop in the bucket compared to an expected 1,000,000 sales of vehicles in that price segment overall.
Work vehicles are also on the rise among GM’s EVs this year. The company’s Brightdrop division is continuing sales (more on this below), while the Silverado EV is supposed to be delivered to 340 fleet customers, with most of them on the west coast.
Brightdrop Has Good News, Too
BrightDrop is celebrating a string of successes this spring. The first 500+ BrightDrop Zevo 600s have been shipped from CAMI Assembly — the large-scale manufacturing facility in Ontario, Canada, opened just three months ago. Demand for BrightDrop’s commercial electric vehicles is also at an all-time high, with the entire model year 2023 Zevos already sold out. Ryder, one of the newest customers, adds to the momentum with a commitment to add 4,000 BrightDrop EVs to its rental and lease fleet by 2025.
“Our customers have ambitious sustainability goals and they’re under extreme pressure to deliver on them,” said Steve Hornyak, chief commercial officer, BrightDrop. “The quicker we can electrify commercial fleets, the quicker we’ll help combat climate change. We’re laser-focused on scaling production to deliver for our customers, and the planet.”
The Ryder deal alone includes the addition of 4,000 BrightDrop Zevo 600 and Zevo 400 electric vans to its lease and rental fleet by 2025. The first 200 are being ordered this year. This announcement underscores the rising demand for commercial electric vehicles (EVs) in the transportation and logistics industries and enables Ryder customers to test out EVs, enhance their driver experience, and further their sustainability initiatives.
Ryder is deploying model year 2023 Zevo 600 electric vans in its rental fleet in California, Dallas-Fort Worth, and New York City later this year. The new 2024 Zevo 600 and Zevo 400 models for lease and rental customers are expected to be available as early as summer 2023 and into the first quarter of 2024. This further emphasizes the company’s commitment to providing commercial EVs for its customers.
“We aim to make fleet electrification as seamless as possible by investing in alternative vehicle solutions to offer sustainable and economic advantages for our customers,” says Tom Havens, president of fleet management solutions for Ryder. “Ryder continues to be at the forefront of identifying advanced and emerging vehicle technology by serving as an extended research and development arm for its customers.”
BrightDrop has already secured more than 30 other commercial customers across industries such as retail, rental, parcel delivery, and service-based utilities in just two years. This includes American Tire Distributors, WasteNot Compost, and Rexel USA, in addition to FedEx, Walmart, Hertz, DHL Express, and Purolator. BrightDrop says its record-setting commercialization and the fastest-ever plant conversion by GM has allowed it to accelerate production of its electric delivery vans — the company is well on its way to reaching a 50,000-unit annual volume capacity by 2025.
Lots Of Room For Growth
While GM is still pretty behind Tesla on passenger cars and crossovers, it’s worth noting that the light duty commercial sector is an area where Tesla isn’t currently doing much. Other manufacturers, especially Ford, are pushing into that segment with work vans and other practical business vehicles.
So, if GM can keep its growth up and get Ultium vehicles into a decent production ramp, it will definitely stay in the game.
Featured image provided by GM/Brightdrop and Ryder.
I don’t like paywalls. You don’t like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it! We just don’t like paywalls, and so we’ve decided to ditch ours.
Unfortunately, the media business is still a tough, cut-throat business with tiny margins. It’s a never-ending Olympic challenge to stay above water or even perhaps — gasp — grow. So …