Car News

GM Hopes to Deliver With BrightDrop EV600 Electric Van

The latest electric vehicles from General Motors aren't the cars or trucks you're expecting, though these EVs will be on the road before anything already announced. These EVs are part of a new venture announced this morning at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) called BrightDrop and they include an electric pallet as well as a new electric delivery truck lined up for new testing with FedEx.

"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," said GM CEO Mary Barra. GM has developed extensive experience and expertise in telematics through services like OnStar and had a flexible electric ecosystem including batteries, controllers, and motors on the way and it wants to use those in as many different areas as possible.

The demand for package delivery has shot up massively during the pandemic, though clearly, GM was already working on this solution. To meet the demand for delivery, which GM estimates will top US$850 billion by 2025, BrightDrop is launching the EP1 and the EV600.

The EV600 is the one you'll see on the road, and the company plans to have them in service by the end of the year. The first 500 will go to FedEx, but BrightDrop said it has letters of intent with multiple logistics providers.

Using the Ultium battery system, the EV600 will offer a 400+ km range and have the ability to add up to 275 km/h of range per hour on a 120 kW fast-charge station. 17,000 L of cargo capacity competes well with existing vans, though it will have a full range of GM's best driver assistance features including park assist, emergency braking, collision alert, pedestrian detection, and more. Surround cameras, rear cross-traffic braking, and other more advanced features will be available. In a rare move today, BrightDrop didn't speak about future driverless dreams, but rather actual existing tech that will be in the vehicles they produce this year.

BrightDrop will offer more than just an EV delivery van, though, looking at providing complete delivery and package services. That includes software services, but it also includes the EP1 electric pallet. The EP1 is a parcel carrying box that has a built-in electric motor, can handle close to 100 kg of cargo, and can travel at speeds of up to 5 km/h. It's meant to replace the dolly and save the delivery driver or truck loader from carrying large or heavy packages. Down the road, BrightDrop will add the ability to automatically load and unload the electric pallets from the van.

The EP1 is set to be available this quarter, arriving in Canada at the same time. The EV600 van will also be available here, with approximately the same end of 2021 timing as the U.S. They'll be handled by a new not yet established retail channel, and pricing hasn't yet been announced.