GM Debuts New B2B Business Unit for Electric Vehicles

GM’s new bet: delivery EVs for B2B, fleet management, motorized transport boxes, and more
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Yesterday GM debuted BrightDrop, a new business unit focused on the B2B electric vehicle market. Think: electric delivery vans, fleet management, motorized transport boxes, and more.

We spoke with Mark Reuss, president of General Motors, for the what, why, and how.

A look inside

BrightDrop will kick off with two main offerings: the EV600, an electric delivery van with a ~250-mile range that runs on GM’s Ultium battery tech; and the EP1, a motorized, lockable delivery pallet with a 200-lb carrying capacity.

Everything will be tied into a software platform offering fleet management, location tracking, remote diagnostics, and more.

Who’s buying: BrightDrop’s first commercial client is FedEx. The shipping giant recently tested the EP1 in a pilot program, and it’ll get the first 500 units of the EV600.

Behind the bet

Reuss told us that existing issues with last-mile delivery—exacerbated by the explosion of e-comm—made GM’s opportunity clear. “The last mile...is very tough for the companies to make it happen on time [and] at a lower cost,” he says.

  • GM has its work cut out for it in solving this challenge, which has vexed delivery giants for years. BrightDrop’s first two offerings are only the beginning, according to the company, which also floated future concepts like rapid-load delivery vehicles on Tuesday.

Show me the $$: By 2025, GM estimates that the US’s combined market for “parcel, food delivery, and reverse logistics” will exceed $850 billion.

  • And by 2030, demand for urban last-mile delivery is projected to increase by 78%, according to a pre-pandemic analysis by the World Economic Forum.

The edge

As they say, the subsidiary doesn’t fall far from the tree: BrightDrop is all about vertical integration. GM developed its own Ultium battery tech, as well as the components that go with it. Having manufacturing on its side—as well as Cruise’s autonomous vehicle- and driver-assist tech—should make production easier and cheaper.

Speaking of competition: EV manufacturer Rivian recently teamed up with Amazon on 100,000 electric delivery vehicles. But the other big EV delivery news of 2020—Walmart teaming up with Cruise on electric vans—is also a spoke in GM’s wheel.

GM’s all-electric focus is committed to going “wherever that market may be,” says Reuss. “You may see that in places where General Motors hasn't traditionally played or hasn't played for a very long time—some of the bigger trucking companies, some of the consumer-driven uses of today’s internal combustion engine generators, you name it."

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Drones, automation, AI, and more. The technologies that will shape the future of business, all in one newsletter.