GM announces new electric delivery van with its own motorized pallet as part of new move into logistics
General Motorsunveiled a new electric delivery van called the BrightDrop EV600 during CES 2021 on Tuesday.
- The van is one of the first products out of GM's new delivery and
- BrightDrop will also sell a motorized pallet called the EP1 and a suite of software and services for commercial customers.
- The automaker has ambitious electrification plans and has committed $27 billion to developing battery-powered and autonomous vehicles through 2025.
General Motors took the wraps off of a new electric delivery van Tuesday as it takes the next step in its pivot toward an all-electric future.
The van, announced during the CES 2021 consumer technology conference, will be one of the first products to come out of a new logistics and delivery business GM is launching called BrightDrop. With the new business, GM aims to capitalize on furious growth in e-commerce and last-mile delivery that was accelerated by the pandemic and is expected to continue in years to come.
The BrightDrop EV600, powered by GM's Ultium battery platform, will have a range of up to 250 miles on a full charge and will be able to recoup 170 miles of range per hour via DC fast charging, the company says. Other highlights include more than 600 cubic feet of cargo space, a cargo-area security system, sliding pocket doors, and an automatically opening cargo bulkhead.
It will come equipped with safety features like park assist, forward-collision warning, and lane-keep assist as standard, with more driver-assistance tech available.
FedEx is set to be the first company to take delivery of EV600 vans and will receive its first vehicles in late 2021, GM said. The vans will be more widely available to order starting in early 2022.
The first BrightDrop product to hit the market will be an electrified pallet called the EP1, which will be available in early 2021. The motor-assisted pallet, which can carry up to 200 pounds and has a capacity of 23 cubic feet, is designed to help couriers move packages over short distances - from the back of an EV600 to a customer's door, for instance. Hub motors can propel the EP1 at up to 3 mph.
GM teamed up with FedEx Express to test out the EP1, and the motorized pallets enabled FedEx couriers to move 25% more packages per day, said Richard Smith, FedEx's regional president of the Americas, during the CES event.
Going beyond selling electric products like the EP1 and EV600, GM intends for BrightDrop to be a "one-stop-shop solution for commercial customers to more goods in a better, more sustainable way," GM CEO Mary Barra said in a statement.
BrightDrop will offer a suite of software and services to help commercial clients manage their fleets and delivery operations. GM says customers will be able to map efficient routes, track the whereabouts of EP1 pallets, check a vehicle's battery status remotely, and access over-the-air software updates.
GM plans to invest $27 billion in developing electric and autonomous vehicles through 2025 and aims to have 30 EVs in its lineup by that year. The 118-year-old automaker unveiled a new logo last week to signify its shift toward EVs.
But it will face stiff competition from a host of startups and legacy automakers vying for a piece of the commercial EV market. Canoo, Bollinger, and the Amazon-backed firm Rivian are all working on electric delivery vans, while Mercedes-Benz and Ford are making battery-powered versions of the Sprinter and Transit van, respectively.
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