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GM wants to electrify mobile commerce with BrightDrop

The EP1 pallet and the EV600 van will revolutionize courier services

GM's BrightDrop aims to drastically reduce the carbon footprint of the courier industry. PHOTO FROM GENERAL MOTORS

Following its new logo as part of its commitment to electrification, General Motors has unveiled a new business venture called BrightDrop. Essentially an ecosystem of electric products for commercial uses (mainly logistics and delivery), the American automaker’s first project is a pair of cargo-carrying vehicles.

Deliverers will love the EP1's ability to propel itself. PHOTO FROM GENERAL MOTORS

The first one is the BrightDrop EP1, which is more of a self-propelled container with lockable doors that can be used to deliver packages from a vehicle to a customer’s doorstep. While being guided by a courier, this pallet can securely carry about 90kg worth of cargo at speeds of up to 5km/h while navigating tight spaces. GM says the EP1 can help reduce package touch points, operating costs and physical strain on delivery drivers.

Your next Amazon purchase could be delivered by a FedEx EV600. PHOTO FROM GENERAL MOTORS

BrightDrop’s second product, the EV600, is an electric van that can deliver goods and services over longer ranges. Thanks to GM’s Ultium battery system, this EV nets a potential range of 402km from a single charge. It also supports fast charging, where 273km of endurance can be had from an hour of being plugged to a quick charger. As for cargo, the EV600 has a capacity of over 600 cubic feet (hence the name), which can be discharged through an automated door. In terms of features, this vehicle is quite loaded, starting with the large 13.4-inch infotainment display. Park assist, rear cross-traffic alert, and a cargo security system further ease driver workload.

Vehicles like this could see potential as food trucks or mobile stores. PHOTO FROM GENERAL MOTORS

FedEx Express is BrightDrop’s first customer. The company’s trials with EP1 seem promising with couriers reporting up to 25% more packages delivered along with the product’s ease of use and reduction of physical effort. FedEx will also be taking delivery of its initial batch of EV600s this year.

Sam Surla

Sam is the youngest member of our editorial team. And he is our managing editor (believe it or not). He specializes in photography and videography, but he also happens to like writing about cars a lot.