The 2022 CES Show was a big deal for General Motors’ commercial vehicle startup, BrightDrop. It announced two major deals, an expansion of its collaboration with FedEx and the addition of Walmart to its growing list of customers. The latter includes a deal to reserve 5,000 BrightDrop EV600 and EV410 commercial vans to support Walmart’s growing last-mile delivery network and goal to operate a zero-emissions fleet by 2040.
FedEx, on the other hand, signed another agreement with BrightDrop to reserve priority production for 2,000 additional delivery vans on top of its initial 500-unit reservation last year. In total, FedEx is working to add up to 20,000 vans over the next few years. FedEx also announced plans to expand its testing of BrightDrop’s EP1 electrified container to 10 markets starting this year. The first five BrightDrop EV600 vans were delivered to FedEx last month.
“BrightDrop’s mission is to decarbonize the world’s deliveries. We leverage the best of two worlds — the innovation, agility, and focus of a technology startup with the engineering and manufacturing might of General Motors,” said Travis Katz, President, and CEO of BrightDrop. “This combination, coupled with BrightDrop’s holistic solution set, gives us powerful advantages that uniquely position us to support the world’s largest delivery companies, like Walmart and FedEx, with their robust sustainability goals. Today’s commitments showcase our ability to power the electrification journey of some of the world’s biggest companies.”
Walmart will use BrightDrop’s commercial vans for its InHome delivery services, which will expand and be made available to over 30 million households by the end of 2022. Originally launched in 2019, Walmart’s InHome delivery service was designed to give families time back by delivering groceries and other essentials directly to consumers’ homes. It will also hire 3,000 more delivery drivers to operate the all-electric vans of delivery vans to support Walmart’s goal of operating an emissions-free fleet by 2040. The electric vans will be on the road as soon as 2023 and will also be offered for use to third-party retailers via Walmart GoLocal, Walmart’s white-labeled delivery as a service arm that it unveiled earlier this year.
FedEx is also aiming to make achieve carbon-neutral global operations by 2040 and will electrify its entire pickup and delivery fleet. It envisions adding thousands of medium-sized delivery vehicles over the next 20 years. The company’s initial pilot program in Toronto, Canada announced in Jan. 2021 resulted in a 25 percent increase in package deliveries per day using BrightDrop’s EP1 electric container. A second pilot program recently finished in New York City where FedEx saw a 15 percent increase in package deliveries every hour. It also removed one on-road vehicle from delivery routes. It also cut curbside dwell time in half when used in high-density, vertical urban areas, all while reducing the physical strain on couriers.
The BrightDrop EV600 is the first of two commercial vans to go into production and has a range of 250 miles per charge. A smaller compact van called the EV410 will be available starting in late 2023. Both vehicles are based on General Motors’ Ultium suite, which includes a platform specifically developed for battery-electric vehicles and electric motors. The EV600 is produced in the CAMI Assembly facility in Ontario.