GM launches new BrightDrop electric vehicle business
By Mike Brezonick12 January 2021
General Motors today has launched a new business, BrightDrop, which will offer an ecosystem of electric first-to-last-mile products, software and services. The BrightDrop solutions are designed to help businesses lower costs, maximize productivity, improve employee safety and freight security, and support overall sustainability efforts.
“BrightDrop offers a smarter way to deliver goods and services,” said Mary Barra GM chairman and CEO. “We are building on our significant expertise in electrification, mobility applications, telematics and fleet management, with a new one-stop-shop solution for commercial customers to move goods in a better, more sustainable way.”
GM estimates that by 2025, the combined market opportunity for parcel, food delivery and reverse logistics in the U.S. will be over $850 billion. According to the World Economic Forum, demand for urban last-mile delivery, fueled by e-commerce, is expected to grow by 78% by 2030, leading to a 36% increase in delivery vehicles in the world’s top 100 cities. At the same time, this increase in demand is expected to cause delivery-related carbon emissions to rise by nearly one-third.
To help meet this surge in demand, while reducing the impact on the planet, BrightDrop is developing an integrated set of solutions designed to improve almost every aspect of first-to-last-mile delivery. The first product to market, the EP1, will be a propulsion-assisted, electric pallet developed to move goods over short distances – for example, from the delivery vehicle to the customer’s front door. The EP1 incorporates electric hub motors with adjustable speed up to 3 mph and it has a payload capacity of 200 lb.
The BrightDrop EV600, an electric light commercial vehicle purpose-built for the delivery of goods and services over long ranges, will be the second product to market. It is powered by GM’s Ultium battery system and is targeted to have an estimated range of up to 250 miles on a full charge.
Early customer interest in the EV600 has been strong, GM said, with the first vehicles to be delivered by the end of this year. BrightDrop expects to make the EV600s available to more customers to order starting in early 2022.
GM said an EP1 pilot program has already been completed in partnership with FedEx Express. During the pilot, FedEx Express couriers were able to effectively handle 25% more packages per day with the EP1s.
BrightDrop and FedEx Express have another pilot scheduled to take place in one of the biggest urban centers of the U.S. this quarter. FedEx Express is also slated to be the first customer of the EV600, receiving their vehicles later this year.
“Our need for reliable, sustainable transportation has never been more important,” said Richard Smith, FedEx Express regional president of the Americas and executive vice president of global support. “BrightDrop is a perfect example of the innovations we are adopting to transform our company as time-definite express transportation continues to grow. With this new suite of products, we will help improve the safety, security and timeliness of FedEx Express deliveries, while reducing our environmental impact and protecting the well-being of our couriers.”