The World Economic Forum estimates that demand for urban last-mile delivery, fueled by e-commerce, will grow by 78% by 2030, leading to a 36% increase in delivery vehicles in the world’s top 100 cities—further exacerbating urban congestion and pollution.
This increase in demand is expected to cause delivery-related carbon emissions to rise by 21% and add 11 minutes to each passenger’s commute.
Third-party logistics companies, which manage fleets of many thousands of vehicles, are on the front lines of these challenges, rising to meet demand while addressing the associated increases in emissions and congestion. In addition, these companies are faced with labor shortages and occupational injuries due to the physical strain of handling packages. Curb management is also a safety consideration. On congested urban streets, a parked delivery vehicle can create traffic hazards, while the manual unloading of packages can clog sidewalks and bike lanes, and present bicyclist and pedestrian safety concerns.
Our solution to these challenges is BrightDrop, an internal startup devoted to decarbonizing last-mile deliveries through an ecosystem of electric products, software and services that empower companies to move goods more efficiently. BrightDrop is designed to help businesses lower their ownership and operating costs, maximize labor productivity and improve employee safety and freight security—all while operating with products that work together intelligently and with zero operating emissions.
BrightDrop launched publicly in 2021 and introduced its first products, the Zevo 600, an electric light commercial vehicle (eLCV) built for the delivery of goods and services over long ranges1, and the Trace. The Trace is a smart, electrically propelled cart that helps reduce time and physical effort required for couriers to get goods from the delivery van to customers. A customer field test demonstrated 25% improvement in package delivery volumes per route, enabling the reduction of total vehicles in use. The Trace can also enable multimodal delivery models where vehicles drop off the Traces and foot or bike couriers can then complete the final delivery, further reducing congestion and operational costs. The Trace can be used as a standalone product or can be coupled with the Zevo 600.
BrightDrop completed the first production builds of the Zevo 600 in September 2021, making the Zevo 600 the fastest vehicle program to market in GM’s history. The record-setting development timeline of just 20 months was made possible by leveraging the highly flexible Ultium battery platform, innovative virtual development processes established by the GMC HUMMER EV program and an agile approach to manufacturing development. The timetable enabled delivery of the first few of 500 eLCVs to FedEx Express, BrightDrop’s first customer, in December.
improvement in package delivery volumes per route, based on a customer field test
Also in 2021, BrightDrop unveiled the Zevo 400, a smaller eLCV. Verizon, one of the largest fleet operators in the United States, is the first customer slated to integrate the Zevo 400 into its field maintenance and service fleet. The Zevo 400 combines many of the same features of the Zevo 600, but its smaller size enables enhanced curb management, maneuverability and the ability to fit into a standard-size parking space—a benefit for customer operations and a key feature to help reduce street congestion in urban areas.
The Zevo 600 is the
vehicle program to market in GM’s history
Record-setting development timeline of just
enabling delivery of our first units in December 2021
In early 2022, BrightDrop also added Walmart as a customer, with the retailer reserving 5,000 units of BrightDrop’s Zevo 600 and smaller Zevo 400 electric delivery vans to be ordered. The units will support Walmart’s last-mile delivery network and goal of operating an all-electric logistics fleet by 2040.
BrightDrop is an example of how we are leveraging technology platforms into new markets while also leveraging GM’s ability to execute at scale. We are converting our CAMI manufacturing plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, to produce the BrightDrop eLCVs.
- GM estimate of up to 250 miles on a full charge, subject to change. GM estimated range based on current capability of analytical projection consistent with Society of Automotive Engineers J1634 revision 2017—MCT. Actual range may vary based on several factors, including temperature, terrain, battery age, loading, and how the vehicle is used and maintained.