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article imageGM to launch all-electric van under new business unit

By Karen Graham     Jan 12, 2021 in Business
The market for battery-powered delivery vehicles and equipment has so much potential that General Motors has formed a new business unit - BrightDrop - part of GM’s plan to invest $27 billion in electric and autonomous vehicles by 2025.
BrightDrop was unveiled on Tuesday by General Motors CEO Mary Barra in a keynote address at the CES 2021 virtual tech show. Besides introducing a new all-electric commercial van called the EV600, GM also showed off another, far less conventional EV, a battery-powered package called the EP1 propulsion-assisted pallet.
The all-electric pallet - EP1 - will go on sale early this year, with the EV600 van expected to be on the roads late in the year with 500 going to FedEx, the company’s first customer. BrightDrop also offers software and operational support for delivery businesses such as location services, battery status, and remote unlocking, according to the Associated Press.
Pamela Fletcher, GM’s vice president of global innovation, was put in charge of developing tech ideas into working business models in late 2018. And with the development of BrightDrop, she noted that GM was not going into the delivery business.
“One thing we are not is a logistics company,” she said, adding that GM is working with many companies with experience in the field. “We really need to leverage our electrification expertise to other industries,” she said.
Discussing the EV600 delivery van, Fletcher said that with the new Ultium battery system in place, the van will be able to travel up to 250 miles on a single charge.
“The game-changer about BrightDrop is that it’s a one-stop-shop ecosystem,” Fletcher said, per CNBC News. “End-to-end, BrightDrop could help with the deliveries fleets need.”
While Fletcher declined to talk about prices, she did say that BrightDrop products will be sold through a new independent sales and service network. She said GM has a full portfolio of electric products, not just vehicles, planned for BrightDrop.
Ultium batteries will normally support up to 200kW fast charging (slower than Tesla's 250kW Supercharger V3, but still quick), but there will be 800-volt packs for trucks that will handle 350kW charging. But as Engadget points out, other companies are not holding back on the development of better, cheaper batteries - Adding that " In that light, Ultium is less of a technical edge and more of a necessity."
More about General motors, BrightDrop, allelectric delivery van, wheeled pallet, new business unit
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