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GM Debuts BrightDrop To Electrify Logistics

Image via General Motors

Just days after unveiling its new logo, which is meant to evoke "the clean skies of a zero-emissions future," General Motors announced its latest move as it continues to go all-in on electric vehicles.

With Wall Street currently obsessed with electric vehicles, GM launched a new business named BrightDrop, which will offer electric first-to-last-mile products, software and services for delivery and logistics companies. BrightDrop will offer solutions to improve almost every aspect of first-to-last-mile delivery that will help businesses reduce expenses, maximize productivity, improve employee safety and support overall sustainability efforts.

GM estimates the combined market opportunity for parcel, food delivery and reverse logistics in the U.S. will be more than $850 billion by 2025. Citing World Economic Forum data, GM says urban last-mile delivery is expected to grow by 78% by 2030, leading to a 34% increase in the number of delivery vehicles needed.

"BrightDrop offers a smarter way to deliver goods and services," GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra said. "We are building on our significant expertise in electrification, mobility applications, telematics and fleet management, with a new one-stop-shop solution for commercial customers to move goods in a better, more sustainable way."

BrightDrop's first product to market will be the the EP1, which is a propulsion-assisted, electric pallet to help move items over short distances. The EP1, which will be available early this year, already underwent a pilot program through a partnership with FedEx Express, enabling the company's couriers to handle 25% more packages per day.

"BrightDrop is a perfect example of the innovations we are adopting to transform our company as time-definite express transportation continues to grow," FedEx Express regional president of the Americas Richard Smith said. "With this new suite of products, we will help improve the safety, security and timeliness of FedEx Express deliveries, while reducing our environmental impact and protecting the well-being of our couriers."

BrightDrop's second product to market will be the EV600, which is an electric light commercial vehicle designed for delivering goods and services over ranges of up to 250 miles. The EV600 will be powered by GM's Ultium battery system and features more than 600 cubic feet of cargo space. GM says early customer interest has been strong as the first deliveries will take place by the end of this year, with more customers able to place orders in 2022.

Investors cheered the news as GM shares jumped more than 6% yesterday to a record high and are now up 45% from the company's post-bankruptcy initial public offering in November 2010.

Travis Katz, who previously served as entrepreneur-in-residence at venture capital firm Redpoint Ventures, will serve as BrightPoint President and CEO. BrightPoint will initially serve U.S and Canadian customers with full support, including maintenance needs, securing parts and scheduling repairs.

As investors continue to pour money into everything related to electric vehicles, GM investors are being rewarded as the company continues to lay out its vision of a "zero-emissions future."

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