Walmart joins FedEx in ordering BrightDrop vans (GM)


BrightDrop records more large orders for electric delivery trucks as Walmart signs an agreement to reserve 5,000 units of the EV600s and EV410s. In addition, launch customer FedEx significantly increases its order with the General Motor’s brand.

The logistics specialist now secured production capacity for 2,000 electric vans after BrightDrop handed over the first five of an initial 500 vans to FedEx in December as reported. FedEx says it was also working on a plan to order up to 20,000 more electric vans from BrightDrop in the coming years, subject to further negotiations and the finalisation of a definitive purchase agreement, according to a joint statement at CES today. Details have not been made public.

As for BrightDrop’s newest client, Walmart, Tom Ward, senior VP of last-mile deliveries at the US grocery chain, said, “BrightDrop’s proven ability to bring a sustainable electric van to market makes them a great partner to support our growing InHome delivery service.”

Walmart plans to grow its InHome delivery service to include 30 million US households by the end of the year, up from the current six million. BrightDrop’s electric vans may begin hitting the road for Walmart deliveries in early 2023, so the companies.

This schedule is in line with earlier communications. BrightDrop had prioritised the small series reserved for FedEx – its first client – produced with the help of an unnamed partner, said to be Kuka.
However, once GM completes the conversion of the Ingersoll plant in the Canadian province of Ontario, series production of the model is to begin there in November 2022. In 2023, BrightDrop plans to expand production at the Canadian plant to two shifts. “Market permitting”, the plan is to increase to three shifts in 2024.

The Brightdrop vans utilise GM’s Ultium platform which is at “the heart of the EV product strategy,” so the manufacturer. The architecture includes proprietary batteries made by Ultium Cells, a joint venture with LGES, and proprietary drive and power electronics. The company also stressed that the new vans were conceived “within 20 months prior to initial deliveries to FedEx, making it the fastest vehicle to market in GM’s history.”

The company also announced it had completed a Toronto-based pilot with FedEx, which saw a 25 per cent increase in package deliveries per day when using BrightDrop’s EP1 electric container, and GM today said it saw the completion of a second pilot with FedEx in New York City. The integration of BrightDrop’s EP1 allowed FedEx Express couriers to increase package deliveries by 15 per cent per hour, remove one on-road vehicle from the delivery route and cut curbside dwell time in half in dense urban environments. In today’s announcement at CES, FedEx added, it would expand testing of the EP1 to ten markets beginning early this year.

In addition, the US fleet management company Merchants Fleet had ordered a total of 18,000 e-delivery trucks from BrightDrop, as reported last Novemver. Said order comprises 12,600 EV600s and 5,400 of BrightDrop’s smaller EV410 offshoot. Both vans have a range of around 250 miles or 400 km. Merchants Fleet expects the first EV600s to arrive from 2023.



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