The manufacturer General Motors (GM) on Tuesday presented its latest offensive in the niche of electric vehicles: a new subsidiary, BrightDrop, which will offer delivery vans and logistics services in particular.
Announced on the occasion of CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas, the major annual gathering of electronics and technology, this initiative comes as traditional automakers try to catch up with the insolent growth of the vehicle manufacturer high-end electric Tesla.
GM’s more specific foray into logistics is announced a few months after the online sales giant Amazon presented its first all-electric delivery vehicle, vans made by the start-up Rivian expected to hit the roads in 2022 .
The initiative was well received on the New York Stock Exchange where the title of General Motors jumped 6.2%.
GM ultimately wants to offer “a whole ecosystem of electrical products, software and services.”
BrightDrop EP1, a sort of large delivery box that can easily transport driverless up to 90 kg of goods over short distances, from the delivery vehicle to the customer’s door for example, or to warehouses, will be available “start 2021 ”, according to GM.
The other product offered by GM is BrightDrop EV600, an electric van with a range of 400 kilometers per charge and powered by the Ultium battery developed by the manufacturer. This new vehicle will be available “by the end of 2021”.
FedEx Express, a division of the carrier FedEx, will be the first customer of this new offer.
“Our need for reliable and sustainable transportation has never been greater,” said Richard Smith, FedEx Express Manager for the Americas.
“With this new product line, 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,” he added.
GM also plans to offer services, such as electric charging infrastructure or a software platform to manage fleets of BrightDrop products.
Other products GM is considering is a vehicle that can carry multiple EP1s over medium distances.
“We are leveraging our significant expertise in electrification, mobility applications, telematics and fleet management, bringing everything together under a single window allowing customers to transport their goods in a more efficient and more efficient way. sustainable, ”commented GM boss Mary Barra, quoted in the statement.
With BrightDrop, GM “has shown that it thinks beyond just manufacturing cars,” said Jessica Caldwell, automotive specialist for Edmunds.
“While launching its own commercial delivery platform is an ambitious goal, it comes at an ideal time given the boom in e-commerce seen over the past ten months,” she added.
This new initiative is part of the group’s strategy to focus on electric vehicles.
GM has in fact planned to invest $ 27 billion (EUR 22 billion) by 2025 in electric and autonomous vehicles.
The automaker hopes to launch 30 new models of electric vehicles by the end of 2025, with examples in each of the group’s four brands – Cadillac, GMC, Chevrolet and Buick.
The group also unveiled a new logo last week that was supposed to illustrate its efforts in electric vehicles. The new shape of the M is a reference to electrical outlets while the gradient of blue used in the letters of some versions of the logo is supposed to evoke the sky of a future without polluting emissions.
GM, given “its history and its capabilities,” must “lead the transformation by providing an electric vehicle for all,” said Ms. Barra on CNBC.
For the more distant future, GM also unveiled on Tuesday the contours of an autonomous and electric air taxi, thus joining the race for flying cars.
According to a video of a virtual prototype, the device could transport a passenger from one building roof to another, taking off and landing vertically, at a speed of 90 kilometers per hour.