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FedEx receives its first electric delivery vans from GM’s BrightDrop

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BrightDrop is GM’s new delivery and logistics business

FedEx is the first customer to receive electric delivery vans from General Motors’ new EV-focused company BrightDrop. The logistics giant says it will integrate the EVs into its fleet starting in 2022.

BrightDrop, which is GM’s new dedicated electric delivery van spinoff, said it delivered five of its larger-sized EV600 delivery vans to FedEx, the first in a planned 500-vehicle order. The EV600, which went into production last fall, has 600 cubic feet of cargo space, can travel up to 250 miles on a full battery, and has a gross vehicle weight of less than 10,000 pounds.

The vans were delivered to FedEx’s facility in Inglewood, California, where they will be housed and maintained. FedEx plans to begin deploying BrightDrop’s vehicles on the roads making deliveries in Los Angeles starting in the first half of 2022 and will add more vehicles as BrightDrop makes them available.

FedEx has more than 200,000 motorized vehicles in its fleet. As of 2019, the company had 2,944 electric vehicles in service, which included electric and hybrid delivery trucks, forklifts, and airport ground service equipment. The company has committed to spending $2 billion to become carbon neutral by 2040.

When GM first announced the creation of BrightDrop, it brought up FedEx’s interest in buying electric vans from the company as a point of validation. What it didn’t mention was that FedEx has been on the hunt for a reliable EV supplier for a long time. The company had a deal with erstwhile EV startup Chanje to buy 1,000 electric delivery vans but was left in the lurch when Chanje failed to make good on its promise. (FedEx is now suing Chanje, which officially shut down earlier this year.)

GM also partnered with FedEx Express on a pilot last year to test out the EP1, an electric pallet that can be used to transport packages from a delivery vehicle to a customer’s front door. Using the electric pallet allowed FedEx workers to handle 25 percent more packages a day, GM said.

Meanwhile, GM decided to spin off a new EV-focused logistics business as part of a massive, $35 billion pivot to electric vehicles. GM has been nipping at the heels of Tesla and other EV makers as it attempts to rewrite its history and lead the charge into an all-electric future.