Common Motors introduced Tuesday will probably be spinning out a brand new supply and logistics enterprise referred to as BrightDrop, the primary merchandise of which will probably be an electrified pallet and supply van. Each automobiles, which will probably be powered by GM’s Ultium battery platform, are slated for launch this yr.
The announcement of the brand new logistics enterprise comes as GM is present process a massive, $27 billion pivot to the enterprise of designing and manufacturing electrical automobiles. For instance, the corporate, which is the most important automaker in North America, simply unveiled a new logo as part of an overall brand redesign. GM has been nipping on the heels of Tesla and different EV makers because it makes an attempt to persuade its buyers that it has a agency grasp on the way forward for electric-powered transportation.
BrightDrop will probably be a key piece of that pivot, wherein a whole lot of 1000’s of electrical supply automobiles are anticipated to hit the highway within the years to come back. GM envisions the brand new firm “making a one-stop store, an entire ecosystem” for electric-powered supply, together with automobiles, software program, and different companies, mentioned Pamela Fletcher, VP of GM’s international EV program.
The primary automobile to roll out with the BrightDrop branding will probably be a supply pallet referred to as EP1. The pallet, which can be utilized to move packages from a supply automobile to a buyer’s entrance door, could have an Ultium-powered electrical propulsion that may enable a high pace of three mph. Packages may be secured throughout the EP1 pallet, which comes with adjustable shelving and lockable cabinet-style doorways. As well as, EP1 can carry as much as 23 cubic ft of cargo and could have a payload capability of 200 kilos.
Fletcher says that the EP1 is supposed to handle the issue seen with bundle supply right now, wherein “packages are sometimes strewn on metropolis sidewalks,” haphazardly and unsecured. “We noticed this as an answer to create a totally totally different surroundings for supply,” Fletcher continued, “actually to assist bundle contact factors, scale back errors, scale back bodily pressure on these delivering the products, assist optimize curb time, and assist scale back general operational prices for companies.”
GM partnered with FedEx Specific on a pilot final yr to check out the EP1. Utilizing the electrical pallet allowed FedEx employees to deal with 25 p.c extra packages a day, Fletcher mentioned.
The EP1 will go into manufacturing in “early 2021,” Fletcher mentioned. Following that would be the EV600, a 250-mile vary supply van with 600 cubic ft of cargo house and a gross automobile weight ranking of 10,000 kilos. It should have a peak cost price of as much as 170 miles per hour when hooked as much as a 120kW DC quick charger. That automobile will go into manufacturing in late 2021, with the primary automobiles to be delivered by the tip of the yr.
The BrightDrop EV600 will embrace a safety system with movement sensors to assist maintain the cargo space safe. Different options embrace entrance sliding pocket doorways, broad cabin walkways, and a big auto-open cargo bulkhead door. The industrial automobiles will include a variety of superior driver help options, together with blind spot detection, lane maintain help, and entrance and rear parking help. A reasonably sizable 13.4-inch digital infotainment display screen is bound to be the centerpiece of the inside.
FedEx has expressed curiosity in shopping for an unspecified variety of EV600 supply vans, mentioned Fletcher, who additionally alluded to a number of different unnamed prospects. “We have now letters of intent signed from a variety of different prospects, and we wish to be speaking to you about these within the not too distant future,” she mentioned. Fletcher declined to disclose the prompt retail worth for the EP1 and EV600.
BrightDrop can also be providing a variety of software program to prospects who buy its new industrial automobiles. This may allow prospects to trace the situation of every EP1 pallet, distant lock and unlock every pallet, and monitor battery standing. EV600 can even get battery standing and placement monitoring options, in addition to driver security teaching and incident recording, distant diagnostics, security alerts and predictive upkeep insights, and over-the-air updates.
Rumors of a GM-made electrical supply van, nicknamed “BV1,” first surfaced final yr, after the corporate unveiled its Ultium EV platform together with plans to roll out two dozen new electrical automobiles over the subsequent few years.
GM has discovered success with its Chevrolet Specific and, to a lesser extent, GMC Savana cargo vans. Nevertheless it’s removed from the one firm engaged on an electrical van. Mercedes-Benz is making an electric version of its popular Sprinter van, whereas Ford just lately revealed the E-Transit with 126 miles of vary and a $45,000 price ticket. Amazon is working on an all-electric delivery vehicle with the EV startup Rivian. Two different startups just lately unveiled electrical vans: Bollinger with its Deliver-E and Canoo with its scalable automobile, each due in 2022.