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GM's commercial EV unit to supply 5,400 more vans to Merchants Fleet

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FILE PHOTO: Logo of General Motors atop the company headquarters
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(Reuters) - General Motors Co's BrightDrop said on Thursday vehicle leasing firm Merchants Fleet plans to order 5,400 more of its delivery vans in a boost to the largest U.S. automaker's fledgling electric commercial vehicle business.

GM unveiled BrightDrop in January in a bid to grab a chunk of the growing electric delivery vehicle business to better compete with rival Ford Motor Co and other companies such as Rivian Automotive Inc.

GM has outlined plans to double its revenue by 2030 and become the leader in U.S. electric vehicle sales.

Merchants Fleet's order would bring its total BrightDrop electric vehicles to 18,000. Of the total, 12,600 orders, announced in February, are for BrightDrop's full-size delivery van EV600 and the remaining 5,400 are for its medium-sized van EV410.

The EV410, which was unveiled in September and offers a driving range of 250 miles (400 km) between charges, has already bagged Verizon Communications Inc as a customer.

U.S. president Joe Biden and fellow Democrats in Congress have proposed nearly $50 billion in tax breaks, incentives for government agencies to buy electric vehicles, and loans for retooling factories, which could provide further impetus to automakers' electric vehicle plans.

That does not count billions in new subsidies to spur sales of electric vehicles, such as a 30% tax credit for commercial electric vehicles.

(Reporting by Nathan Gomes in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel)

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