General Motors dropped a surprise initiative today that will play a part in how you get packages in the future: A new venture called BrightDrop.
BrightDrop is a business unit of GM that will entail everything from an all-electric delivery vehicle to the way packages are moved, literally and figuratively via an electric pallet to logistics software.
And GM has already found a big customer that will utilize BrightDrop: FedEx Express. The company is slated to be the first customer to use the BrightDrop EV600 electric van, with deliveries (pun intended) to begin later this year. EV600 availability to other customers is expected early next year.
GM says the van is purpose-built to deliver goods and services over long ranges – up to 250 miles on a charge thanks to the automaker’s Ultium batteries. It’s also designed to juice up quickly – up to 170 miles of range on a 1-hour charge.
The BrightDrop EV600 has over 600 cubic feet of cargo area. In addition to emitting zero-emissions, the BrightDrop EV600 delivery vehicle will have the kind of safety features similar to modern cars, including automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, pedestrian detection and more.
Smaller but equally cool is the BrightDrop EP1. It’s actually BrightDrop’s first product to market, and is an electric pallet that can help delivery workers move up to 200 pounds of product without manual effort. We can already hear workers’ backs saying thank you.
Beyond hardware, GM says its new division will offer cloud-based software to handle logistics and better enable drives and couriers.
“BrightDrop offers a smarter way to deliver goods and services,” said Mary Barra GM Chairman and CEO. “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.”
BrightDrop is just the latest in what is looking to become a booming industry of electrified delivery. Amazon announced earlier that it is investing in Rivian to build a fleet of electric delivery vans.
GM estimates that “by 2025, the combined market opportunity for parcel, food delivery and reverse logistics in the U.S. will be over $850 billion.”