On Thursday, General Motors announced that it will be reorganizing its BrightDrop electric commercial vehicle unit in order to better integrate it into the parent company, resulting in cost savings. Travis Katz, CEO of BrightDrop, has resigned from his position at an undisclosed date. The reason for his departure was not stated.
BrightDrop was originally founded as a startup within GM with operational autonomy. However, as the public’s appetite for new electric vehicle manufacturers wanes, it makes sense that BrightDrop would be fully absorbed into the core of GM. Reilly Brennan, managing partner at Trucks Venture Capital in San Francisco, noted that this move was not surprising. “BrightDrop was created at a time when there was a voracious appetite for new EV manufacturers,” he said. “Now that the market no longer has such demand, it makes sense that BrightDrop would be folded into the core of GM.”
Despite the challenges faced by BrightDrop due to delays in battery module delivery and idling of Ingersoll plant in October 2021, General Motors still plans to increase production of the BrightDrop Zevo vans and launch new battery-module operations at Ingersoll plant. According to GM’s October 2021 statement, it anticipates that BrightDrop’s revenue will surpass $10 billion by 2030 with low-20% profit margins.
Katz did not respond to a request for comment on his resignation but had previously described himself as a nontraditional person in the automotive world who appreciated General Motors’ willingness to give him leeway on pricing and business strategy.