Earlier this year, General Motors’ logistics sub-brand, BrightDrop, partnered with the University of Washington’s Urban Freight Lab (UFL) and a handful of local tech and delivery companies to launch a new eco-friendly last-mile delivery hub in Seattle. The company says this last-mile delivery center has so proven to be a major success – in part thanks to a team of dedicated workers and the practicality of the BrightDrop EP1 electric delivery pallet.
In a LinkedIn post published in November, BrightDrop said its last-mile delivery hub helped implement a 30 percent reduction per package in tailpipe CO2 emissions over traditional delivery methods. The delivery hub, located in Seattle’s Uptown neighborhood, serves as a home base for a fleet of e-bikes that have a rear rack for carrying the BrightDrop EP1 electrically-assisted delivery pallet.
While e-bikes are zero-emission and would theoretically produce a 100 percent reduction in emissions, the 30 percent figure cited by BrightDrop includes the emissions produced by trucks that delivered the packages to the Uptown-based delivery hub before they were sent out for last-mile delivery on the e-bikes. Still, this strategy helps reduce the number of emissions-emitting trucks and vans in Seattle’s core and also reduces the chance these vehicles will be left idling whilst the driver delivers the packages to doorsteps.
BrightDrop launched the Seattle delivery hub in partnership with AxelHire, a Seattle-based last-mile delivery company, and delivery bike manufacturer Coaster Cycles. The hub also has an on-site kitchen operated by a local on-demand food service called Reef, giving Seattle residents “quick and low-emissions access to some of their favorite delivery restaurants,” BrightDrop said earlier this year. The on-site kitchen reduces the need for services like UberEats, which often times utilize drivers in small passenger cars to deliver meals.
The BrightDrop EP1 was conceived as a propulsion-assisted, electric pallet for delivery people and couriers. With a small powered electric motor, the EP1 can increase operating efficiency for delivery companies like FedEx by reducing some of the physical strain on delivery drivers. Sales of the EP1 began in early 2021.
While the last-mile delivery hub in Seattle is only a proof-of-concept pilot program for now, it could be representative of the ways that BrightDrop plans to expand GM’s business going forward as the automaker looks to introduce electrified, eco-friendly solutions in all sectors of transportation.