Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

In June 2022, 150 GM Brightdrop Zevo 600 electric delivery vans were delivered to FedEx. Image courtesy of GM.

Clean Transport

GM Brightdrop Buys AI Company To Help Customers Switch To EV

GM’s Brightdrop division, a unit focused on electric work vans, recently bought a company that could give it an edge in artificial intelligence and other software capabilities.

“We’re bringing entirely new ways of doing business to the delivery market by providing a holistic, one-stop-shop portfolio of first- to last-mile solutions that allow fleet customers to do their jobs more efficiently while helping alleviate strain on the workforce, and the environment,” said Rachad Youssef, chief product officer, BrightDrop. “Part of that includes building a software platform that leverages data and simulation to demonstrate how new technologies can work for them. This integration will take our software capabilities to new heights, while continuing to deliver as promised for our customers.”

To achieve that goal, Brightdrop recently acquired Marain, a technology startup based in California. The idea is to use its AI-driven software to make Brightdrop’s systems better at analyzing, forecasting, and identifying multi-modal solutions for fleet customers as they plan their journey to full-fleet electrification.

That’s a bit of a mouthful, and it took a lot of reading around the press release to understand exactly what they’re talking about. In short, the idea is to help companies make the transition from their current gas and diesel-powered delivery vehicles, and that’s not always an easy process.

I like to use my first longer-range electric vehicle as an example. When I bought my 2018 LEAF, it was the first electric vehicle I had that could make a road trip of any kind on electric power. Prior to that time, I had a Nissan LEAF that could only do local driving, and a Chevy Volt that switched to gas when the battery got low. The advertised 150-mile range was great for the city, but trying to take the car 150 miles on the highway wasn’t really possible. Had I known ahead of time how that all worked, it would have been a lot easier to deal with.

But, that’s a personal example. Surely fleet managers would do better at this than some photographer, writer, and firearms instructor, right? Not so much. We can use Albuquerque Rapid Transit’s failure with electric buses as an example. They made basically the same mistake I made with my LEAF at first, thinking the vans would go the rated range under all conditions. Sadly, this led to abandoning the electric bus plans and switching to “clean diesel.”

So, by offering software that helps companies analyze their activities and make them work with electric vehicles from the beginning of the process, it will be a lot easier for them to hit the ground running. This means that instead of dipping their toes into the water of electric last mile delivery and then chickening out, companies will be able to get it right the first time and start fully benefiting from EVs on day one.

“The opportunity to electrify the delivery sector is massive, and it will benefit significantly from sophisticated planning and operations software as fleets introduce multi-modal solutions,” said Damien Scott, CEO and cofounder, Marain. “BrightDrop is extremely well positioned to lead the transformation of first- to last-mile deliveries with its integrated vehicle, software and services portfolio. We are delighted that Marain’s technology and expertise will uniquely add to BrightDrop’s software capabilities helping to decarbonize the last-mile at scale.”

Featured image by Brightdrop.

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it! We just don't like paywalls, and so we've decided to ditch ours. Unfortunately, the media business is still a tough, cut-throat business with tiny margins. It's a never-ending Olympic challenge to stay above water or even perhaps — gasp — grow. So ...
If you like what we do and want to support us, please chip in a bit monthly via PayPal or Patreon to help our team do what we do! Thank you!
Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Written By

Jennifer Sensiba is a long time efficient vehicle enthusiast, writer, and photographer. She grew up around a transmission shop, and has been experimenting with vehicle efficiency since she was 16 and drove a Pontiac Fiero. She likes to get off the beaten path in her "Bolt EAV" and any other EVs she can get behind the wheel or handlebars of with her wife and kids. You can find her on Twitter here, Facebook here, and YouTube here.


You May Also Like


The Qualcomm Snapdragon Digital Chassis is under consideration by a number of car manufacturers, like Sony–Honda and General Motors.

Clean Transport

The  SAIC-GM-Wuling (SGMW) Joint Venture has a factory in Indonesia that assembles the Wuling Air. The Wuling Air has two options for the electric...


General Motors and Samsung SDI will announce this week the construction of new US battery factory, probably in Michigan.


Update: According to our calculations, approximately 5.7% of US car sales were fully electric car sales in 2022. That’s up from 3.2% in 2021,...

Copyright © 2023 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.