General Motors has launched a new business, BrightDrop, which will offer an ecosystem of electric first-to-last-mile products, software and services to empower delivery and logistics companies to move goods more efficiently.
BrightDrop solutions are designed to help businesses lower costs, maximize productivity, improve employee safety and freight security, and support overall sustainability efforts.
BrightDrop was born out of GM’s Global Innovation organization and joins the lineup of other recently launched Global Innovation startups, such as OnStar Insurance, OnStar Guardian and GM Defense. From a growth strategy standpoint, this new business will unlock areas of B2B, expansion of the Ultium EV platform and software and service opportunities.
GM estimates that by 2025, the combined market opportunity for parcel, food delivery and reverse logistics in the US will be more than $850 billion. According to the World Economic Forum, demand for urban last-mile delivery, fueled by e-commerce, is expected to grow by 78% by 2030, leading to a 36% 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.
To help meet this surge in demand, while reducing the impact on the planet, BrightDrop is developing an integrated set of solutions to help improve almost every aspect of first-to-last-mile delivery. The BrightDrop ecosystem includes:
BrightDrop EP1. BrightDrop’s first product to market, the EP1, will be a propulsion-assisted, electric pallet developed to easily move goods over short distances—for example, from the delivery vehicle to the customer’s front door. Available in early 2021, the EP1 can help reduce package touch points, costs and physical strain on delivery drivers. EP1 features and benefits include:
Built-in electric hub motors with adjustable speed up to 3 mph depending on operator’s walking pace.
Maneuverable in tight spaces.
Carries and secures approximately 23 total cubic feet of cargo.
Payload capacity of 200 pounds.
Adjustable shelving organizes contents.
Lockable cabinet doors allow for secure, remote access to contents.
BrightDrop EV600. BrightDrop’s second product to market will be the EV600 electric light commercial vehicle purpose-built for the delivery of goods and services over long ranges. It will combine zero-emissions driving with a range of advanced safety and convenience features more common in consumer electric vehicles. EV600 features and benefits include:
Powered by the Ultium battery system, the EV600 is targeted to have an estimated range of up to 250 miles on a full charge.
Peak charge rate of up to 170 miles of EV range per hour via 120kW DC fast charging.
More than 600 cubic feet of cargo area.
Available at a GVWR of less than 10,000 pounds.
Cargo area security system with motion sensors to help keep cargo secure.
A 13.4-inch-diagonal, full-color infotainment screen.
Front sliding pocket doors, wide cabin walkways and a large auto-open cargo bulkhead door all contribute to optimize driver efficiency.
Standard safety features include: Front and Rear Park Assist, Automatic Emergency Braking, Forward Collision Alert, Following Distance Indicator, Front Pedestrian Braking, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, IntelliBeam automatic high beams and HD Rear Vision Camera.
Additional available safety and driver assistance features include: Rear Cross Traffic Braking, Blind Zone Steering Assist, Reverse Automatic Braking, HD Surround Vision, Rear Pedestrian Alert, Enhanced Automatic Emergency Braking, among others.
FedEx Express is slated to be the first customer of the BrightDrop EV600, and will begin receiving their vehicles later this year.
Early customer interest in the EV600 has been strong, with the first vehicles to be delivered by the end of this year. BrightDrop expects to make the EV600s available to more customers to order starting in early 2022.
Software-enabled services. BrightDrop offers an integrated, cloud-based software platform, which provides customers visibility and access to their BrightDrop products through both web and mobile interfaces. Built-in connectivity provides businesses with detailed data and insights that can help improve overall operations, including route efficiency, asset utilization and product upgrades. Drivers and couriers can utilize the mobile application for a variety of tasks.
BrightDrop mobile asset management. EP1 connectivity provides customers real-time features, including location monitoring, battery status, remote commands to lock and unlock, and over-the-air updates of connected features.
BrightDrop EV fleet management. EV600 connectivity provides fleet operators remote access, real-time location, battery and charging management, driver safety coaching and incident recording, remote diagnostics, safety alerts and predictive maintenance insights, and over-the-air updates.
Future concepts. BrightDrop will continue to grow its product offerings over time to include a portfolio of integrated, zero-emissions 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.
Innovating with FedEx Express. BrightDrop is the result of extensive research and listening to challenges faced by delivery customers and then leveraging GM expertise to develop real-life solutions. An EP1 pilot program has already been completed in partnership with FedEx Express. During the pilot, FedEx Express couriers were able to effectively and safely handle 25% more packages per day with the EP1s. FedEx Express couriers shared feedback that the EP1s were easy to maneuver and reduced physical strain.
With plans to continue innovating, BrightDrop and FedEx Express have another pilot scheduled to take place in one of the biggest urban centers of the US this quarter. FedEx Express is also slated to be the first customer of the EV600, receiving their vehicles later this year.
BrightDrop operations. BrightDrop will initially serve customers in the US and Canada. It will have a customer support team to assist with every aspect of operating and servicing BrightDrop products, including supporting charging and infrastructure installation, advising on upfitting services, and retrofitting a current fleet vehicle to integrate with BrightDrop products. BrightDrop support services will also assist with maintenance needs, including securing parts and scheduling repairs.
Customers will connect with BrightDrop through an independent sales and service network, leveraging a newly established BrightDrop dealer network to support vehicle sales and service.