General Motors announced today a new business, BrightDrop, which it claims will offer electric first-to-last-mile products, software and services to allow delivery and logistics companies to move goods more efficiently. BrightDrop’s electric pallet, EP1, will be available in early 2021, and its electric light commercial vehicle, the EV600, will be on roads in late 2021 – it’s promised. 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. BrightDrop will initially serve customers in the U.S. and Canada.
This is roughly consistent with analysis released at the beginning of the week by the World Economic Forum that estimates so-called urban last-mile delivery emissions are on track to increase by more than 30% by 2030 in the top 100 cities globally.
“Without intervention, these emissions could reach 25 million tons of CO2 emitted annually by 2030. Along with increased carbon emissions, traffic congestion is expected to rise by over 21%, the equivalent of adding 11 minutes to each passenger’s daily commute,” said WEF. It also identified and prioritized 24 interventions to combat these trends, which also include 36% more delivery vehicles in inner cities by the end of this decade.
“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.”
BrightDrop introduces GM’s Ultium platform to the commercial vehicle segment and has Level 2 and DC fast charging capabilities. FedEx Express will be the first customer of BrightDrop. An EP1 pilot program has been completed in partnership with FedEx Express. During the pilot, FedEx Express couriers were able to handle 25% more packages effectively and safely per day with the EP1s. FedEx couriers said that the EP1s were easy to maneuver and reduced physical strain.
EV 600 is an electric light commercial vehicle purpose-built for the delivery of goods and services over long ranges. It will combine zero-emissions driving with advanced safety and convenience items more common in consumer electric vehicles.
EV600 items and aids include:
- Powered by the Ultium battery system, the EV600 is targeted to have an estimated range of up to 250 miles on a full charge.
- Peak charge rate of up to 170 miles of EV range per hour via 120kW DC fast charging.
- Over 600 cubic feet of cargo area.
- Available at a GVWR of less than 10,000 pounds.
- Leading safety are Front and Rear Park Assist, Automatic Emergency Braking, Forward Collision Alert, Following Distance Indicator, Front Pedestrian Braking, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, IntelliBeam automatic high beams and HD Rear Vision Camera.
- Optional safety and driver assistance items are Rear Cross Traffic Braking, Blind Zone Steering Assist, Reverse Automatic Braking, HD Surround Vision, Rear Pedestrian Alert, Enhanced Automatic Emergency Braking.
- Cargo area security system with motion sensors to help keep cargo secure.
- A 13.4-inch-diagonal, full-color infotainment screen.
- Front sliding pocket doors, wide cabin walkways and a large auto-open cargo bulkhead door all contribute to optimize driver efficiency.
BrightDrop comes out of GM’s Global Innovation organization and joins other recently launched Global Innovation startups, such as OnStar Insurance, OnStar Guardian and GM Defense. GM in the past has a mixed history of studying, sometimes introducing and then making money on innovations.