GM Launches New EV Delivery Business Unit

General Motors announced at CES that it is to launch a new business called BrightDrop.

The new business will, GM said, ‘offer an ecosystem of electric first-to-last-mile products, software and services to empower delivery and logistics companies to move goods more efficiently. These BrightDrop solutions are designed to help businesses lower costs, maximise productivity, improve employee safety and freight security, and support overall sustainability efforts’.

The company estimates that by 2025, the combined market opportunity for parcel, food delivery and reverse logistics in the U.S. will be over $850 billion ($AU1 trillion) and that demand for urban last-mile delivery is expected to grow by 78 per cent by 2030.

To help meet this demand, while reducing environmental impact, BrightDrop is GM’s effort at delivering an integrated set of solutions for first-to-last-mile delivery. These include:

BrightDrop EP1

The EP1 is an electric pallet developed to move goods over short distances – for example, from a delivery vehicle to a customer’s front door.

Electric motors power the EP1 and give it walking-pace mobility, and features include a payload capacity of 90kg.

BrightDrop EV600

GM says BrightDrop’s second product will be the EV600 — an electric light commercial vehicle purpose-built for the delivery sector.

Powered by the company’s Ultium battery system, the EV600 is targeted to have a range of up to 400km on a full charge and be able to receive 275km of EV range per hour via 120kW DC fast charging.

Decent cargo space, (17 cubic metres), a full suite of safety features – including Front and Rear Park Assist, Automatic Emergency Braking, Forward Collision Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Braking, Blind Zone Steering Assist, Reverse Automatic Braking, HD Surround Vision, Rear Pedestrian Alert, Enhanced Automatic Emergency Braking, among others, is to be fitted. There will be motion sensor security for the cargo area too.

Front sliding pocket doors, wide cabin walkways and a large auto-open cargo bulkhead door mark the EV600 out as a delivery vehicle.

GM say customer interest in the EV600 has already proven strong with the first vehicles to be delivered by the end of 2021.

Additionally, BrightDrop will offer an integrated, cloud-based software platform offering customers visibility and access to their BrightDrop products, while built-in connectivity will deliver data and insights for operational purposes.

Connectivity will allow for mobile asset management –including location monitoring, battery status, remote commands to lock and unlock, and over-the-air updates of the EP1 – while a fleet management system will allow operators of the EV600 to have remote access and real-time location information, offer battery and charging management, and allow for incident recording, remote diagnostics, safety alerts and predictive maintenance insights.

GM says that the EP1 and EV600 will be joined at some point by other products, with a medium-distance vehicle that transports multiple EP1s, and a rapid load delivery vehicle concept under consideration.

“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.”

Source: Motor Trader e-Magazine (February 2021)

8 February 2021

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