GM entering electrified first and final mile space

BrightDrop EV600
FedEx Express is slated to be the first customer of the BrightDrop EV600, and will begin receiving their vehicles later this year.

General Motors on Tuesday threw its hat further into the electrified trucking ring with the debut of a full ecosystem of electric first-to-last-mile products, software and services.

BrightDrop offers an integrated, cloud-based software platform, which provides customers visibility and access to their BrightDrop products through both web and mobile interfaces. The BrightDrop mobile asset management platform provides insights to an EP1, including its real-time location, battery status, remote commands to lock and unlock, and over-the-air updates of connected features.BrightDrop offers an integrated, cloud-based software platform, which provides customers visibility and access to their BrightDrop products through both web and mobile interfaces. The BrightDrop mobile asset management platform provides insights to an EP1, including its real-time location, battery status, remote commands to lock and unlock, and over-the-air updates of connected features.

Dubbed BrightDrop, the new business is structured as a one-stop-shop solution that lowers costs, maximizes productivity, improves employee safety and freight security, and supports overall sustainability efforts, while also offering “a smarter way to deliver goods and services,” said GM Chairwoman and CEO Mary Barra.

Barra announced the platform during her keynote address at CES 2021 – a consumer electronics show that in recent years has become popular among OEMs debuting and showcasing electric and autonomous trucking initiatives. 

The EP1, BrightDrop’s first product to market, is a propulsion-assisted electric pallet designed to move cargo short distances; for example, from the delivery vehicle to the customer’s door.

GM completed an EP1 pilot program in partnership with FedEx Express, noting couriers were able to handle 25% more packages per day with the EP1s while reducing physical strain.

Available early this year, the EP1 features built-in electric hub motors with adjustable speed up to 3 mph depending on operator’s walking pace.  The EP1 offers maneuverability in tight spaces; the capacity to carry and secure approximately 23 cubic feet of cargo; a payload capacity of 200 pounds; adjustable shelving organizes contents; and lockable cabinet doors for secure, remote access to contents.

Up later this year will be an electric light commercial vehicle, the EV600. Powered by GM’s Ultium battery system, the EV600 is set to feature more than 600 cubit feet of cargo area – which will have a security system with motion sensors – and targets a range of up to 250 miles on a full charge, with a peak charge rate of up to 170 miles of EV range per hour via 120kW DC fast charging.

Featuring front sliding pocket doors, wide cabin walkways and a large auto-open cargo bulkhead door, FedEx Express is slated to be the first customer to receive the EV600 later this year, and it will come packed with standard safety features like Front and Rear Park Assist, Automatic Emergency Braking, Forward Collision Alert, Following Distance Indicator, Front Pedestrian Braking, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, IntelliBeam automatic high beams and HD Rear Vision Camera. Optional safety and driver assistance features include Rear Cross Traffic Braking, Blind Zone Steering Assist, Reverse Automatic Braking, HD Surround Vision, Rear Pedestrian Alert, Enhanced Automatic Emergency Braking, among others.

BrightDrop will also offer an integrated, cloud-based software platform, providing customers visibility and access to their BrightDrop products via web and mobile interfaces. Built-in connectivity provides businesses with detailed data and insights that can help improve overall operations, including route efficiency, asset utilization and product upgrades. Drivers and couriers can utilize the mobile application for a variety of tasks.

Other services include:

BrightDrop mobile asset management – EP1 connectivity provides customers real-time features, including location monitoring, battery status, remote commands to lock and unlock, and over-the-air updates of connected features.

BrightDrop EV fleet management – EV600 connectivity provides fleet operators remote access, real-time location, battery and charging management, driver safety coaching and incident recording, remote diagnostics, safety alerts, predictive maintenance insights and over-the-air updates.

Customers will connect with BrightDrop through an independent sales and service network, leveraging a newly established BrightDrop dealer network to support vehicle sales and service.

BrightDrop will have a customer support team to assist with operating and servicing its products, including supporting charging and infrastructure installation, advising on upfitting services, and retrofitting a current fleet vehicle to integrate with BrightDrop products. BrightDrop support services will also assist with maintenance needs, including securing parts and scheduling repairs.