General Motors unveiled plans Tuesday to build electric vans under a the new BrightDrop brand, in a move aimed at creating a new ecosystem for delivery of goods.
“BrightDrop offers a smarter way to deliver goods and services,” said GM chairman and chief executive Mary Barra as she unveiled the new brand at the virtual Consumer Electronics Show.
Advertisements - Click the Speaker Icon for Audio
GM is partnering with delivery giant Fedex to test the new vehicles and offer what Barra called ” one-stop-shop solution.”
The move comes with GM and other automakers racing to keep pace with electric carmaker Tesla’s dizzying growth, and as Amazon is set to launch its own electric delivery vans from the startup Rivian.
GM said the new brand aims to offer “an integrated ecosystem of electric products, software and services.”
Its “electric pallet” called the BrightDrop EP1 will be available in early 2021 and will be a propulsion-assisted system to move goods over short distances such as from a vehicle to the customer’s front door.
“Don’t be surprised to see couriers leading EP1s down our sidewalks in the next few months,” Barra said in her streamed presentation.
The first electric van called the EV600 will be on roads in late 2021, GM said.
“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.
GM also unveiled a new fast-charging system for the vehicles to be known as the Ultium platform.
The EV600 is targeted to have an estimated range of up to 400 kilometers (250 miles) on a full charge
– FedEx partner –
GM said it has been testing the pallets with FedEx Express and found that couriers were able to boost their deliveries by25 percent while reducing physical strain.
FedEx also will be the first customer for the EV600 vehicles to be delivered later this year.
“Our need for reliable, sustainable transportation has never been more important,” said Richard Smith, FedEx Express regional president of the Americas.
GM has been ramping up efforts to shift to electric vehicles, and on Tuesday offered a preview of its Cadillac EV to be called Celestiq and a new version of its Bolt EV.
The news came as the big electronics show opened its first all-digital event which was forced online due to the pandemic.
CES this year includes some 1,800 exhibitors, less than half the number from last year, and dozens of online conferences and presentations.