GM's BrightDrop Will Supply Electric Delivery Vans to Walmart, Expanding its Existing Supply Deal With FedEx

GM's BrightDrop Will Supply Electric Delivery Vans to Walmart, Expanding its Existing Supply Deal With FedEx

Author: Eric Walz   

BrightDrop, the new logistics and commercial electric vehicle division of automaker General Motors, announced a partnership with retailer Walmart at CES on Wednesday to supply electric thousands of delivery vans to Walmart. 

BrightDrop also announced at CES its expanding its existing partnership with FedEx, which will give GM's Brightdrop division a foothold in the commercial electric vehicle market.

GM's logistics unit BrightDrop launched as a business at CES last year. It's a wholly owned subsidiary of the automaker. The company's first EV600 electric delivery vehicles were delivered to FedEx last month with more on the way. 

Walmart signed an agreement to reserve 5,000 of BrightDrop's EV600 and smaller EV410 electric delivery vans. The battery-powered vans will be used in Walmart's last mile delivery network and will help the retailer reach its goal of operating a zero-emissions logistics fleet by 2040. 

BrightDrop President and CEO Travis Katz and GM Chair and CEO Mary Barra were joined virtually during the CES 2022 keynote by Walmart CEO Doug McMillon and FedEx Express Regional President of the Americas and EVP Richard Smith, to make the announcement. 

Walmart plans to use BrightDrop electric vans as part of its "InHome" delivery service, which will be rapidly expanding from being available to 6 million households to 30 million by the end of the year. 

Walmart launched its InHome grocery delivery service in 2019. As part of the service, Walmart employees deliver fresh groceries and everyday essentials directly into the customer's kitchen or garage refrigerator, meaning that Walmart will come to your home and stock your fridge while you're away.

As the InHome delivery service expands, Walmart plans to hire more than 3,000 drivers and equip them with an all-electric fleet of BrightDrop delivery vans to support the retailer's goal of operating a 100 percent zero-emissions logistics fleet by 2040. 

BrightDrop's electric vans could be in service for Walmart deliveries as early as 2023. 

Walmart also plans to use electric vans to enable secure and low-emissions deliveries for third-party retailers via Walmart GoLocal, which is the retailer's white-labeled delivery as a service business unveiled earlier this year. 

"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," said Tom Ward, senior vice president of last mile, Walmart U.S. 

As part of the expanded agreement with FedEx, the logistics company reserved priority production for 2,000 BrightDrop electric delivery vans over the next few years, but that number will grow. 

FedEx is working on a plan to add up to 20,000 BrightDrop electric delivery vehicles in the coming years. However, the expanded supply deal with FedEx is still subject to further negotiations and execution of a definitive purchase agreement. 

The new agreement adds to FedEx's initial reservation of 500 BrightDrop EVs announced last year. FedEx envisions adding hundreds of thousands of medium electric delivery vehicles over the next two decades as it works towards its goal of having a zero emissions fleet by 2040.

FedEx also unveiled plans to expand its testing of BrightDrop's EP1 electrified container vehicle to 10 markets beginning in 2022. FedEX launched a pilot in January 2021, which saw a 25 percent increase in package deliveries per day when using BrightDrop's driverless EP1 electric container vehicle. 

The compact EP1 electric cargo vehicle has 23 cubic feet of space for packages for urban deliveries. It can travel on sidewalks and fit in elevators, making its easier for couriers to deliver packages on their route. It's and can travel at speeds of 3.1 MPH and is controlled by a human. BrightDrop's EP1 allows FedEx Express to increase package deliveries by 15% per hour, all while reducing physical strain on couriers. 

BrightDrop just completed a second EP1 pilot with FedEx in New York City.


The BrightDrop EP1 electric cargo vehicle.

The Brightdrop EV600 delivery van is built on GM's Ultium EV Platform, which will also underpin its upcoming lineup of electric passenger vehicles. The EV600 was designed and built in just 20 months, making it the fastest vehicle to market in GM's history. It has a range of up to 250 miles. When plugged into a 120-kW DC fast charger, the EV600 van can recoup 170 miles of range in about an hour. 

"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 start-up with the engineering and manufacturing might of General Motors," said 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."

GM has big plans for BrightDrop. Company executives have said they expect BrightDrop's revenue to reach $10 billion by 2030, so the supply deals with Walmart and FedEx are just the beginning.

Eric Walz
Eric Walz
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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