General Motors announced on Tuesday that it will launch a new delivery and logistics business called BrightDrop, whose first products will be an electrified pallet and delivery van. Both cars, which will be powered by GM’s Ultium battery platform, are scheduled to be launched this year.
The announcement of the new logistics business comes as GM suffers a huge, $ 27 billion pivot in the electric vehicle design and manufacturing business. For example, the company, which is the largest automaker in North America, has just unveiled a new logo as part of a complete redesign of the brand. GM is sinking into the heels of Tesla and other electric car makers as it tries to convince its investors that it has a firm understanding of the future of electric vehicles.
BrightDrop will be a key element of this pillar, in which hundreds of thousands of electric vehicles are expected to hit the road in the coming years. GM envisions the new company “creating a one-stop shop, a complete ecosystem” for electricity supply, including vehicles, software and other services, said Pamela Fletcher, vice president of GM’s global EV program.
The first vehicle to be launched under the BrightDrop brand will be a delivery pallet called EP1. The pallet, which can be used to transport packages from a delivery vehicle to the customer’s front door, will have an electric drive powered by Ultium, which will allow a maximum speed of 3 mph. The packages can be attached to the EP1 pallet, which comes with adjustable racks and lockable cabinet-style doors. In addition, the EP1 can carry up to 23 cubic feet of cargo and will have a payload of £ 200.
Fletcher says EP1 aims to tackle the problem observed in the delivery of packages today, in which “packages are often scattered on city sidewalks”, chaotic and unsafe. “We saw this as a solution to create a completely different delivery environment,” Fletcher continued. business costs. “
GM partnered with FedEx Express on a pilot project last year to test EP1. The use of an electric pallet allowed FedEx employees to process 25% more packages per day, Fletcher said.
EP1 will go into production in early 2021, Fletcher said. Then there will be the EV600, a 250-kilometer delivery van with 600 cubic feet of cargo space and a total weight of 10,000 pounds. It will have a maximum charging speed of up to 170 miles per hour when connected to a 120kW DC charger. This vehicle will start production at the end of 2021, and the first vehicles will be delivered by the end of the year.
The BrightDrop EV600 will include a security system with motion sensors that helps keep the cargo area safe. Other features include front sliding front doors, wide cab aisles and a large automatically opening bulkhead door. Commercial vehicles will be offered with a number of advanced driver assistance features, including blind spot detection, lane keeping assistance and front and rear parking assistance. A rather huge 13.4-inch digital infotainment screen will certainly be in the center of the interior.
FedEx has expressed interest in purchasing an unspecified number of vans to deliver the EV600, said Fletcher, who also hinted at several other unnamed interested customers. “We have letters of intent signed by a number of other clients and we want to talk to you about those in the not too distant future,” she said. Fletcher declined to disclose the recommended retail price for the EP1 and EV600.
BrightDrop also offers a range of software for customers who purchase new commercial vehicles. This will allow customers to track the location of each EP1 pallet, remotely lock and unlock each pallet, and monitor battery status. The EV600 will also receive battery status and location monitoring features, as well as driver safety instruction and accident recording, remote diagnostics, safety warnings and maintenance forecasts, and up-to-date updates.
Rumors of a GM-produced electric van nicknamed “BV1” first surfaced last year after the company unveiled its Ultium EV platform along with plans to launch two dozen new electric vehicles over the next few years.
GM has succeeded with its Chevrolet Express and, to a lesser extent, GMC Savana cargo vans. But this is far from the only company that works on an electric van. Mercedes-Benz is making an electric version of its popular Sprinter van, while Ford recently unveiled a 126-mile E-Transit priced at $ 45,000. Amazon is working on an all-electric vehicle with the EV startup Rivian. Two other startups recently introduced electric vans: Bollinger with its Deliver-E and Canoo with its scalable car, both in 2022.