DETROIT—With e-commerce booming due to the coronavirus pandemic, electric delivery trucks have become the hottest segment of the e-mobility industry. To capitalize on growing demand, General Motors has created a new business unit called BrightDrop.
The company will focus on developing an ecosystem of electric first-to-last-mile products, software and services to help delivery and logistics companies move goods more efficiently. One key component of BrightDrop will be the EV600 truck, which has already attracted the attention of FedEx.
GM estimates that by 2025, the combined market opportunity for parcel, food delivery and reverse logistics in the U.S. will be more than $850 billion. According to the World Economic Forum, demand for urban last-mile delivery is expected to grow by 78 percent by 2030, leading to a 36 percent increase in delivery vehicles in the world’s top 100 cities. At the same time, this increase in demand is expected to cause delivery-related carbon emissions to rise by nearly one-third.
“BrightDrop offers a smarter way to deliver goods and services,” says Mary Barra, CEO of GM. “We are building on our significant expertise in electrification, mobility applications, telematics and fleet management, with a new one-stop-shop solution for commercial customers to move goods in a better, more sustainable way.”
The BrightDrop EV600 is an electric light commercial vehicle purpose-built for the delivery of goods and services over long ranges. It will be powered by GM’s Ultium battery system and will feature an estimated range of up to 250 miles on a full charge.
Beginning later this year, FedEx will receive the first 500 EV600 units to roll off the assembly line. GM will be assembling the vehicle at its CAMI plant in Ingersoll, ON.
The EV600 will be compatible with the BrightDrop EP1, a propulsion-assisted, electric pallet developed to easily move goods over short distances, such as from the delivery vehicle to a customer’s front door. Built-in electric hub motors feature adjustable speed up to 3 mph, depending on the operator’s walking pace.
“The EP1 and EV600 are only the beginning,” claims Barra. “BrightDrop will continue to grow its product offerings over time to include a portfolio of integrated, zero-emission products to help drive further efficiencies and address emerging customer needs. A number of concepts are being explored, such as a medium-distance solution that transports multiple EP1s and a rapid-load delivery vehicle concept.”