GM starting its own electric delivery van company
The new brand, called BrightDrop, worked with FedEx to test the new delivery system. FedEx Express will be the first customer. In addition to the vans, BrightDrop will also offer a motorized electric pallet controlled by a courier that will move packages from the trucks to the front doors.
The electrified pallets labeled EP1 will be shipped to FedEx earlier this year, and the first 500 vans labeled EV600 will be shipped later this year, GM said. The automaker expects to start delivering vans to customers other than FedEx from early 2022.
Other companies have expressed interest in the products, said Pamela Fletcher, GM’s vice president for global innovation, but the company has not yet identified any potential customers.
“Even though It is an ambitious goal to launch our own commercial delivery platform. Given the e-commerce boom the industry has seen over the past 10 months, this is a random time for GM, “said Jessica Caldwell, auto industry analyst at Edmunds.
Last mile delivery demand is expected to grow 78 percent by 2030, GM said in a statement, citing a study by the World Economic Forum.
GM plans to set up a new separate dealer network for BrightDrop. The company did not disclose any information about the cost of a vehicle or how this dealer network was set up.
According to GM, the BrightDrop EV600 can travel up to 250 miles on a full charge. According to GM, fast charging can draw up to 170 miles of electricity in an hour.
The EP1 motorized pallet that FedEx tested is something of a rolling locker. With a top speed of 3 mph, it has electric motors to help them move when pulled down a sidewalk or sidewalk towards a house. An EP1 can carry up to 200 pounds or 23 cubic feet of cargo. During a pilot program, FedEx Express couriers were able to handle 25% more packages on the EP1, according to GM.
The EP1 can work with any van, GM said. BrightDrop will help customers modify other vans in their fleets to work with the EP1, GM said, and customers can use a standard loading gate to get on and off the EP1. GM also showed an animation of a concept van with side openings and a built-in elevator on its CES website to help load multiple EP1s faster.
BrightDrop is also working on a mid-range delivery vehicle that can move multiple EP1s in large enclosed areas like campuses or large warehouses.
As with many electric vehicles, the van and EP1 provide real-time information about their location and state of charge.