General Motors announced a new business, BrightDrop, which will 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, maximize productivity, improve employee safety and freight security, and support overall sustainability efforts.
BrightDrop was born out of GM’s Global Innovation organization and joins the lineup of other recently launched Global Innovation startups, like OnStar Insurance, OnStar Guardian and GM Defense. From a growth strategy standpoint, this new business will unlock areas of B2B, expansion of the Ultium platform and software and service opportunities.
BrightDrop is developing an integrated set of solutions to assist improve almost every aspect of first-to-last-mile delivery. The BrightDrop ecosystem includes:
BrightDrop EP1 – BrightDrop’s first product to market, the EP1, will be a propulsion-assisted, electric pallet developed to easily move goods over short distances. Available in early 2021, the EP1 can help reduce package touchpoints, costs and physical strain on delivery drivers. EP1 features and benefits include:
- Built-in electric hub motors with adjustable speed up to 3 mph depending on operator’s walking pace.
- Maneuverable in tight spaces.
- Carries and secures approximately 23 total cubic feet of cargo.
- Payload capacity of 200 pounds.
- Adjustable shelving organizes contents.
- Lockable cabinet doors allow for secure, remote access to contents.
BrightDrop EV600 – BrightDrop’s second product to market will be the EV600, an electric light commercial vehicle purpose-built for the delivery of goods and services over long ranges. It will combine zero-emissions driving with a range of advanced safety and convenience features more common in consumer electric vehicles. EV600 features and benefits include:
- Powered by the Ultium battery system, the EV600 is targeted to possess an estimated range of up to 250 miles on a full charge1.
- Peak charge rate of up to 170 miles of EV range per hour via 120kW DC fast charging.
- Over 600 cubic feet of cargo area.
- Available at a GVWR of less than 10,000 pounds.
- Segment leading safety features
- Standard safety features2 include: 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.
- Additional available 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.
- Cargo area security system with motion sensors to assist keep cargo secure.
- A 13.4-inch-diagonal, full-color infotainment screen.
- Front sliding pocket doors, wide cabin walkways and a large auto-open cargo bulkhead door all contribute to optimize driver efficiency.
Early customer interest in the EV600 has been strong, with the first vehicles to be delivered by the end of this year. BrightDrop expects to make the EV600s available to more customers to order starting in early 2022.
BrightDrop offers an integrated, cloud-based software platform, which provides customers visibility and access to their BrightDrop products through both 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.
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 and predictive maintenance insights, and over-the-air updates.
Future concepts – TheEP1 and EV600 are only the beginning. BrightDrop will continue to grow its product offerings over time to include a portfolio of integrated, zero-emissions products to help drive further efficiencies and address emerging customer needs. A number of concepts are being explored, such as a medium-distance solution that transports multiple EP1s, and a rapid load delivery vehicle concept.
Innovating with FedEx Express
BrightDrop is the result of extensive research and listening to challenges faced by delivery customers and then leveraging GM expertise to develop real-life solutions. An EP1 pilot program has already been completed in partnership with FedEx Express. During the pilot, FedEx Express couriers were able to effectively and safely handle 25 percent more packages per day with the EP1s. FedEx Express couriers shared feedback that the EP1s were easy to maneuver and reduced physical strain.
Travis Katz has joined BrightDrop as president and CEO from venture capital firm Redpoint Ventures where he was an entrepreneur-in-residence. Katz has an extensive background as a technology leader, entrepreneur and investor. This, combined with his track record of scaling global businesses, will help BrightDrop further GM’s vision of zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion.