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BrightDrop delivers first electric vans to FedEx Express

5 vehicles heading to California part of 500-vehicle order for delivery giant

FedEx Express has taken delivery of the first EV600 electric vans as part of a 500-unit order from BrightDrop. The vehicles are in operation in California. (Photo: Business Wire)

BrightDrop has delivered the first five EV600 electric delivery vans to FedEx Express as the first step in an order that could result in 500 vans operating within the FedEx fleet.

The initial vehicles will be put into operation in a FedEx Express (NYSE: FDX) facility in Inglewood, California. FedEx is building electric vehicle charging infrastructure across its network, including 500 stations that have already been installed in California.

“The delivery of the first BrightDrop EV600s is a historic moment, born out of a spirit of collaboration between two leading American companies,” said Mitch Jackson, chief sustainability officer for FedEx. “At FedEx, transforming our pickup and delivery fleet to electric vehicles is integral to achieving our ambitious sustainability goals announced earlier this year. This collaborative effort shows how businesses can take action to help usher in a lower-emissions future for all.”

Powered by General Motors’ (NYSE: GM) Ultium battery platform, the EV600 is designed for deliveries and features an estimated range of up to 250 miles on a full charge. It was purpose-built for the delivery of goods and services with more than 600 cubic feet of cargo area.

“As e-commerce continues to grow, BrightDrop is thrilled to partner with FedEx in our mission to dramatically reduce vehicle emissions from delivery and deliver a brighter future for all of us. FedEx has ambitious sustainability goals, and the speed with which we brought the first BrightDrop electric vehicles to market shows how the private sector can innovate and help bring solutions for some of our biggest climate- and emissions-related challenges,” said Travis Katz, president and CEO of BrightDrop.

Read: GM bets on BrightDrop’s connected last-mile delivery ecosystem

Read: Verizon dials up interest in BrightDrop’s new electric van

FedEx has set a goal to operate an all-electric, zero-emission global pickup and delivery (PUD) fleet by 2040. The company plans for 50% of its global PUD vehicle purchases to be electric by 2025, rising to 100% by 2030.

“With a longstanding mission to connect the world responsibly and resourcefully, FedEx is investing in transformative solutions fueled by innovation,” said Jackson. “That’s why we’re eager to roll up our sleeves and get to work alongside the BrightDrop team, as well as other stakeholders in the private and public sector.”

FedEx Express is also testing another BrightDrop innovation, the EP1. The EP1 is an electric pallet system that uses an electric hub motor to power the pallet at up to 3.1 mph. Built on four wheels and looking like a rolling box, the EP1 features adjustable shelving and can carry up to 200 pounds. It was designed to integrate with the EV600, although it can be used in other applications, such as a recent pilot program in Seattle, where it was transported using electric cargo bikes.

Watch: The global electric vehicle landscape

According to BrightDrop, the initial pilot of the EP1 with FedEx Express allowed the courier to handle 25% more packages in a day. It offers up to 23 cubic feet of space.

Fleet management company Merchants Fleet has also announced its intentions to purchase up to 18,500 BrightDrop vans, a mix of EV600s and the smaller, recently announced, EV410. Verizon has also placed a large order for EV410 vans.

The EV410 is designed to handle smaller, more frequent jobs, such as grocery delivery or service jobs. It features 400 cubic feet of storage and a 150-inch wheelbase. At just under 20 feet in length, the vehicle fits in a standard parking spot. It has a range of up to 250 miles and includes many of the same standard safety features as the larger EV600, including front and rear park assist, automatic emergency braking, forward collision alert, following distance indicator, front pedestrian braking, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, IntelliBeam automatic high beams, and HD rear-vision camera.

 Click for more articles by Brian Straight.

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Brian Straight

Brian Straight leads FreightWaves' Modern Shipper brand as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler. You can reach him at [email protected]