BrightDrop is GM’s latest business initiative.
GM is all-in with electric vehicles, with plans to release 30 new models over the coming years. It’s a big deal for this automaker, which recently updated its logo to emphasize its thrust into all things EV.
BrightDrop Commercial EV Brand
On the commercial side of the house, GM announced that it is launching a new EV brand. Called BrightDrop, the endeavor represents an all-encompassing integrated ecosystem of electric products, including software and services for the first to the last mile. Moreover, BrightDrop has an available electric pallet, the EP1, slated for release early this year with the EV600 electric light commercial vehicle appearing later in the year.
GM also announced that BrightDrop has its first customer, FedEx Express. Notably, a pilot program developed in partnership with FedEx Express has already been completed. GM says that FedEX Express couriers were “able to effectively and safely handle 25 percent more packages per day with EP1s.” GM describes the EP1 as “a propulsion-assisted, electric pallet developed to easily move goods over short distances.”
EP1 Pallet; EV600 Commercial Vehicle
One example noted was how the pallet works from the delivery vehicle to the front door. Specifically, the pallet has built-in electric hub motors with an adjustable speed up to 3 mph, which is dependent on the operator’s walking pace. Other attributes of the pallet is that its maneuverable in tight spaces, holds up to 23 cubic feet of cargo, possesses a payload capacity of 200 pounds, includes adjustable shelving for organizing content, and features lockable cabinet doors allowing for the secure and remote access of its contents.
The vehicle itself is the EV600, a purpose-built electric light commercial vehicle developed for the delivery of goods and services over long ranges. This zero-emissions vehicle will include many of the safety and convenience features inherent to consumer electric vehicles.
GM says the EV600 will be powered by its proprietary Ultium battery system, with a targeted estimated range of up to 250 miles on a full charge. It has a peak charge rate of up to 170 miles of EV range per hour, utilizing a 120-kilowatt DC fast charging connection.
Additionally, some other features include 600 cubic feet of cargo area and an available gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of under 10,000 pounds.
Advanced Standard Safety Features
The EV600 features standard automatic high beams, front and rear park assist, automatic emergency braking, forward collision alert, following distance indicator, front pedestrian braking, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, and an HD rear vision camera. In addition, among the other safety features available include rear cross-traffic braking, blind zone steering assist, reverse automatic braking, HD surround vision, rear pedestrian alert, and enhanced automatic emergency braking.
To secure the cargo area, the EV600 includes a motion-sensor-activated security system. Other features include a 13.4-inch-diagonal full-color infotainment screen, front sliding door pockets, wide cabin walkways, and a large auto-open cargo bulkhead door.
An integrated, cloud-based software program promises to supply customers with enhanced route efficiency, asset utilization, and product upgrades. It’s designed to allow drivers and couriers to utilize the mobile application for a variety of tasks.
The BrightDrop mobile asset management features supply EP1 connectivity for customers, including such real-time features as location monitoring, battery status, remote commands for locking and unlocking, and over-the-air updates of connected features. The fleet management side also benefits, by supplying operators with remote access, real-time location, remote diagnostics, battery and charging management, driver safety coaching and incident recording, safety alerts, predictive maintenance insights, and over-the-air updates.
Beyond the Initial Models
GM says that BrightDrop will expand to include more products beyond the EP1 and EV600. The company is looking at various options to address customer needs, including a medium-distance solution for transporting multiple electric pallets. A rapid load delivery vehicle concept is also in the works.
Following the initial pilot program, GM will work with FedEx Express to roll out a more encompassing test in a not-yet-announced large urban center during this quarter. The first EV600s will be delivered to FedEx Express later this year.
New President and CEO
GM says that BrightDrop will serve customers in the United States and Canada initially. The company appointed Travis Katz as president and CEO, who previously served as the entrepreneur-in-residence with Redpoint Ventures, a venture capitalist firm. Katz’ background includes extensive experience as a technology leader, entrepreneur, and investor.
Photos copyright GM Corp. (BrightDrop).