General Motors scored large orders from FedEx and Walmart as it works to build its BrightDrop electric delivery van and smart container business.
The companies made the announcements at the CES technology convention in Las Vegas Tuesday.
Walmart said it signed an agreement to reserve 5,000 of BrightDrop’s EV600 and EV410 electric delivery vans for its InHome and last-mile delivery network. The retailer said it plans to transition to a zero-emissions logistics fleet by 2040.
“As important as it is that we save our customers time and money through convenient delivery options, it’s just as important that we focus on creating a more sustainable last-mile delivery fleet that avoids emissions,” said Tom Ward, senior vice president of last mile, Walmart U.S.
Walmart’s InHome delivery service currently reaches a market of 6 million households but the retailer wants to grow its to 30 million U.S. households by the end of this year. The company plans to hire more than 3,000 associate delivery drivers. They will use all-electric delivery vans. Walmart said it plans to start using the BrightDrop vehicles next year.
BrightDrop’s EV600 is an electric delivery van using GM’s Ultium battery platform. It has a range of up to 250 miles on a full charge and offers more than 600 cubic feet of cargo area. The EV410 is a smaller electric van with the same range but 400 cubic feet of cargo space.
FedEx started to take the first deliveries of its EV600 late last year as part of an
initial order of 500 electric delivery vans. It is now growing that to 2,000 over the next few years. The delivery service said it also is developing plans to add up to 20,000 more in subsequent years.
“FedEx remains full speed ahead in taking the next steps to electrify our pickup and delivery vehicle fleet, which is a critical component in our ambitious goal to achieve carbon-neutral operations globally by 2040,” said Richard Smith, FedEx Express Regional President of the Americas and executive vice president.
FedEx wants to achieve carbon neutral operations globally by 2040. It plans to electrify its entire parcel pickup and delivery fleet. That will require the company to acquire hundreds of thousands of medium electric delivery vehicles over the next two decades.
The shipping company also plans to expand testing of BrightDrop EP1s to 10 markets beginning in 2022. It has been using the small robotic containers in a New York City pilot program.
The EP1s are small, refrigerator-sized wheeled containers that use electric motors. They travel alongside warehouse workers to carry packages and reduce physical strain. They replace a dolly and can hold about half a pallet worth of goods for transport to final locations.
The New York pilot demonstrated that the EP1 helped FedEx Express couriers increase package deliveries by 15 percent per hour, remove one on-road vehicle from the delivery route and cut delivery vehicle curbside dwell time in half, FedEx said.
Shipping companies and package delivery services are in the initial stages of transition to electric vehicle fleets. Amazon, for example, has placed an order for 100,000 Rivian electric vans.