General Motors subsidiary BrightDrop has partnered with the University of Washington’s Urban Freight Lab (UFL), The City of Seattle, and a handful of local tech and delivery companies to launch a new eco-friendly last-mile delivery hub.
BrightDrop says the delivery hub, located in Seattle’s Uptown neighborhood, is a “pilot program using zero operating-emissions technology to test new vehicles, delivery models and other technologies to help accelerate the development and deployment of sustainable last-mile solutions.”
The delivery hub will serve as the home base for a cargo-bike delivery service, which will leverage BrightDrop’s EP1 propulsion-assisted electric pallets. The EP1 is similar to a regular delivery pallet, but uses electric assist motors to make the courier’s job easier.
Additionally, the delivery hub will feature a common-carrier parcel locker, which will provide locals with a secure and contactless way to receive packages from major package carriers like FedEx or DHL. The hub will also feature a “neighbourhood kitchen” operated by local on-demand food service REEF, which will bring the local area “quick and low-emissions access to some of their favorite delivery restaurants,” BrightDrop says. REEF, in short, is a localized operator of so-called “ghost kitchens.”
The delivery hub is made possible thanks to partnerships with local tech-focused delivery companies AxelHire, REEF and Coaster Cycles. AxelHire offers same-day delivery in the Seattle region, while REEF will operate the hub’s neighbourhood kitchen. Coaster Cycles is a provider of electrically-assisted delivery bikes.
“BrightDrop is proud to work alongside these like-minded organizations at the neighborhood delivery hub to test the feasibility of a more sustainable last-mile perishable goods delivery service,” said BrightDrop strategy and operations manager, Bob Tiderington. “We see this as an opportunity to encourage people to step into a place of imagination to consider the world of delivery and logistics not as it is, but how it could be sooner than later.”
“At a time when less contact is more, BrightDrop’s EP1 is designed to help reduce package touch points, costs and physical strain on the labor force.”