General Motors has rolled out BrightDrop, moving them further into the business of first-to-last-mile products, software, and services for delivery and logistics.
“BrightDrop offers a smarter way to deliver goods and services,” said Mary Barra, GM Chairman and CEO.
To lower costs, maximize productivity, improve safety, increase security, and support sustainability, Barra said, “We are building on our electrification expertise, mobility applications, telematics and fleet management, with a new one-stop-shop solution for commercial customers to move goods.”
BrightDrop is another brilliant idea from GM’s Global Innovation unit, along with a gaggle of other recent GM startups, such as OnStar Insurance, OnStar Guardian, and GM Defense. From a growth perspective, this is meant to attract investors who see GM as a tech firm, and less so an automaker, a part of what GM revealed during the Consumer Electronics Show.
By 2025, GM estimates the opportunity for parcel, food delivery, and reverse logistics in the U.S. will be over $850 billion. Citing the World Economic Forum, urban last-mile delivery demand by 2030 is expected to grow by 78 percent, a 36 percent increase in the world’s top 100 cities. This demand is expected to cause delivery-related carbon emissions to rise by nearly one-third.
To meet the demand and reduce the environmental impact, one of BrightDrop’s solutions is the EP1, an electric pallet. Reducing package touchpoints and costs, the EP1 runs at up to 3 mph, maneuvers in tight spaces, has 23 cubic feet of cargo-carrying capability, a 200-pound payload capacity, and lockable doors.
BrightDrop’s second big idea is the EV600, an electric light delivery vehicle that offers zero emissions, and safety and convenience features more commonly found in consumer EVs. The EV600 is powered by an Ultium battery system with a 250-mile range, with a peak charge rate of up to 170 miles of EV range per hour by 120kW DC fast charging. With over 600 cubic feet of cargo area, the EV600 is available with a GVWR of less than 10,000 pounds.
The first EV600s will be delivered by the end of this year, and FedEx Express will be the first recipient. “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.” Maybe its early adoption of BrightDrop will cause investors to relax, because it’s FedEx. For a company that lives to deliver, BrightDrop couldn’t ask for a better partner.