battery electric van —
FedEx is also increasing its order from 500 to 2,000 electric vans.
The electric delivery vehicle startup BrightDrop is on a roll. Set up by General Motors, BrightDrop leveraged the automaker’s investment in its new Ultium battery platform and Ultium Drive electric motors to bring the EV600 delivery van to market in just 20 months—faster than any other vehicle in GM history.
Last month, the company delivered the first five EV600 vans to FedEx, its first customer. Now, FedEx is increasing its order from 500 vans to 2,000 over “the next few years” and has plans to add up to 20,000 more in time.
Now, BrightDrop can add another marquee customer to its books. The retail giant Walmart has signed an agreement with BrightDrop for 5,000 vans, split between the bigger EV600 and smaller EV410 models. (The number indicates the van’s cargo storage in cubic feet.) Walmart will use the electric vans for its InHome delivery service.
“As important as it is that we save our customers time and money through convenient delivery options, it’s just as important that we focus on creating a more sustainable last mile delivery fleet that avoids emissions,” said Tom Ward, a senior vice president at Walmart. “BrightDrop’s proven ability to bring a sustainable electric van to market makes them a great partner to support our growing InHome delivery service, and we look forward to continue driving our goal of operating a 100 percent zero-emissions logistics fleet by 2040.”
“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 BrightDrop President and CEO Travis Katz. “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.”
BrightDrop isn’t just making electric delivery vans, however. The company has also developed the EP1, which is a pallet with an electric propulsion assist, designed to carry up to 200 lbs (91kg) and 23 cubic feet (651 L) of cargo at speeds of up to 3 mph (5 km/h). FedEx has been testing the EP1 in New York City, where it found that the electric pallets increased deliveries by 15 percent per hour. (An earlier EP1 pilot in Toronto found the electric pallet increased deliveries there by 25 percent per hour.)
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Additionally, it was able to use one fewer delivery vehicle from the route, and it cut the curbside dwell time by 50 percent, not to mention making the delivery drivers’ physical workload easier. As a result, FedEx is going to deploy EP1s in another 10 markets in 2022.
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