General Motors released official information on its new BrightDrop brand during CES 2021 today, which will provide last-mile electric delivery solutions, software and other services to delivery and logistics companies.
BrightDrop is the brainchild of the GM Global Innovation arm, the same smart minds behind other innovative GM ventures such as OnStar Insurance, OnStar Guardian and GM Defense. BrightDrop will produce products and vehicles aimed at helping logistics companies like FedEx move goods more efficiently and in a more earth-friendly manner. GM says demand for urban last-mile delivery, mainly fueled by e-commerce shopping, is expected to grow by 78 percent between now and 2030.
The first product from BrightDrop will be the BrightDrop EP1, which is described as a “propulsion-assisted, electric pallet developed to easily move goods over short distances,” like from a delivery vehicle to the customer’s front door, for example. The EP1, set to launch early this year, is powered by built-in electric hub motors with adjustable speed up to 3 mph, depending on the operator’s walking pace. It can carry up to 23 cubic feet of cargo and has a maximum payload capacity of 200 pounds. The lockable cabinet doors allow for secure, remote access to the contents, while adjustable shelving makes it easy for the operator to organize packages.
BrightDrop’s second product is the EV600 electric light commercial van, which is purpose-built for the delivery of goods and services over long ranges. The van is powered by Ultium batteries and Ultium drive motors, has a maximum range of up to 250 miles and supports DC fast charging at rates of up to 120 kW. A maximum general vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of just under 10,000 pounds, a payload capacity of up to 2,200 pounds and 600 cubic feet of cargo area ensure the EV600 is well-equipped for demanding delivery duty.
The van will also come with a laundry list of active safety features, a standard 13.4-inch full color infotainment screen and a cargo area security system with motion sensors. GM says early customer interest in the EV600 has been “strong,” and expects the first examples to be delivered by the end of this year. FedEx has already placed orders for the van and BrightDrop expects to make the EV600 available to more customers to order starting in early 2022. For the record, GM Authority was the first to report that GM was working on a fully electric van back in February 2019.
Other BrightDrop projects in the works include cloud-based fleet management software for EV600 operators and a remote access management system that allows operators to perform remote diagnostics on vehicles, receive safety alerts and install over-the-air updates. BrightDrop says it will also “continue to grow its product offerings over time to include a portfolio of integrated, zero-emissions products,” and is currently looking at a medium-distance delivery solution that transports multiple EP1s, along with a rapid load delivery vehicle concept.
Look for the BrightDrop EP1 and BrightDrop EV600 as they join FedEx’s fleet later this year.