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GM has launched a new division to provide an ecosystem of electric vehicles and connected products to corporate customers such as FedEx. This is the latest ambition to invest $ 27 billion to make the company a leader in electric vehicle manufacturers.
The new project, called “Bright Drop,” was officially announced on January 12, US time, during the virtual CES 2021. First of all, we will start with two main products, an electric van called “EV600” with a cruising range of 250 miles (about 400km) and a pod-type electric pallet named “EP1”.
BrightDrop has other products in mind, and it was announced on the 12th that it is also developing concepts such as medium-range vehicles that can transport multiple EP1 electric pallets and vehicles for emergency delivery.
But this effort is not limited to vehicles. GM is also developing a suite of software tools to bring the EV ecosystem to the commercial vehicle market. It also plans to build a dealer network to support sales and service to help commercial vehicle customers install charging infrastructure.
According to GM, a cloud-based software platform accessible from websites and mobile apps will provide users with information to help them improve their operations, including optimal delivery routes and other fleet management features. Electric vans and pallets will be equipped with a variety of connected features designed to allow customers to more conveniently monitor and manage their vehicles, including location monitoring, remote battery status checking, and remote unlocking / locking. ..
BrightDrop has spun out of GM’s internal organization, Global Innovation, which has led to the launch of OnStar Insurance, OnStar Guardian, and GM Defense. The latest “startup”. BrightDrop’s CEO and President has been appointed Travis Katz, an entrepreneur in residence at Redpoint Ventures.
BrightDrop’s idea stems from GM’s global innovation team assessing consumer demand for online delivery, exacerbated by the growth of e-commerce and the spread of the new coronavirus infection.
“From the first mile to the literally last 5 feet, the more we know about the demands and challenges in delivery and logistics, the more we know in areas such as electrification, mobility applications, telematics and vehicle management. We have found this to be an opportunity to leverage GM’s expertise to enable businesses to move goods and services in smarter and more sustainable ways, “said Pam Fletcher, GM’s Vice President of Global Innovation. Pam Fletcher) said at a pre-announcement media briefing.
GM predicts that this opportunity is quite large. By 2025, GM estimates that parcel delivery, food delivery, and reverse logistics market opportunities in the United States will total more than $ 850 billion. According to the World Economic Forum, demand for last mile delivery in urban areas is expected to increase by 78% by 2030, leading to a 36% increase in delivery vehicles in the top 100 cities around the world. This increase in demand is expected to increase carbon dioxide emissions from deliveries by more than 30%.
The first product of this division is a pallet with electric assist called “EP1”, which was developed for the purpose of transporting luggage over short distances. This pallet could be used, for example, to repeatedly transport goods from a warehouse to a delivery van. It is scheduled to go on sale in early 2021.
The EP1 has a built-in electric hub motor and can travel up to 3 mph (about 4.8 km / h). The speed of the pod is adjusted according to the walking speed of the operator pushing it.
According to GM, the EP1 is designed to operate in tight spaces, has a cargo space of about 23 cubic feet and can carry up to 200 pounds. .. Inside the pods are adjustable shelves and lockable doors for remote access to in-flight cargo.
FedEx recently completed a pilot program for EP1. According to GM, FedEx Express courier companies have been able to safely handle 25% more packages per day with the introduction of EP1.
BrightDrop and FedEx Express will be piloted in major US cities during the quarter.
This electric delivery van is a vehicle designed and manufactured based on the “Ultium” architecture, which is the core of GM’s EV strategy. The first delivery to FedEx is scheduled to begin at the end of 2021. BrightDrop expects to start accepting orders in early 2022 and will be able to offer the EV600 to more customers.
The EV600 is expected to be able to travel a distance of about 250 miles (about 400 km) on a single full charge. GM says it can travel up to 170 miles on an hour’s charge with a 120kW DC quick charger.
The luggage compartment inside is vast with more than 600 three-dimensional feet (about 16,990 liters) and comes with a security system to keep your luggage safe. The driver’s seat is equipped with a diagonal 13.4-inch full-color infotainment screen and a front sliding pocket door. The wide cabin can be walked through, and there is a door that opens automatically to the luggage compartment.
This commercial electric van is equipped as standard with many driving assistance technologies found in GM passenger cars, such as front and rear park assist, automatic emergency braking, and lane departure warning. In addition, a front collision warning, an inter-vehicle distance display function with the preceding vehicle, a pedestrian detection brake, an automatic high beam switching function, and a high-definition rear view camera are also standard equipment.
If the customer wants more safety features, the rear cross traffic brake that detects a vehicle approaching from the side behind and automatically activates the brake, monitors the blind spot and automatically assists steering if there is a danger. Optional options include blind zone steering assist, automatic braking when reversing, HD surround vision that shows the surroundings of the vehicle, rear pedestrian detection warning, and enhanced automatic emergency braking that operates in the entire speed range by using radar in addition to the camera. It can be installed.
Related article: Cadillac reveals concept of single-seater electric vertical take-off and landing drone that provides luxury air travel
Tags: GM, FedEx, Logistics, CES 2021, Electric Vehicle
Image credit: GM[To original text]
Rachel Maga is a technology journalist currently working at Globe Live Media agency. She has been in the Technology Journalism field for over 5 years now. Her life’s biggest milestone is the inside tour of Tesla Industries, which was gifted to her by the legend Elon Musk himself.