On Tuesday morning, General Motors Chairwoman and CEO Mary Barra announced a new business for the company during her keynote speech at this year’s all-virtual CES. It’s called BrightDrop, and the goal is to provide a range of electrified products for the logistics and delivery industries.
“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,” Barra said.
BrightDrop’s first product is called the EP1, and it’s a pallet with an electric propulsion assist meant to transport things short distances, such as from a delivery van to the customer’s door, at speeds of up to 3mph (5km/h). The EP1 can carry up to 200lbs (91kg) and about 23 cubic feet (651L) of cargo, with adjustable shelves and lockable cabinet doors. GM says the EP1 will be available early this year.
The BrightDrop EV600 is probably more in line with what you might expect from GM. It’s an electric delivery vehicle powered by GM’s new Ultium batteries, and it has a range of approximately 250 miles (402km) on a single charge and the ability to fast charge at 120kW. There’s a clue to its cargo capacity in the name—600 cubic feet (16,990L), with a gross vehicle weight rating of less than 10,000lbs (4,536kg). In addition to a full suite of safety aids, there’s also a cargo area security system with motion sensors to stop miscreants from alighting with the contents of the van.
GM says that interest in the EV600 has been strong, and the first vans will be delivered by the end of this year. Those first EV600s will wear FedEx Express colors; the delivery company has also been testing the EP1 in a pilot program (a pallet pilot?) which it says allowed its couriers to handle 25 percent more packages per day.
In addition to the EP1 and EV600, BrightDrop will also provide a cloud platform for real-time location monitoring, fleet management, and so on. And GM says that BrightDrop is working on some other ideas for future products, like a medium-range vehicle that transports multiple EP1s.
Listing image by General Motors