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Clean Transport

BrightDrop Expands Into Canada With New DHL Deal

Brightdrop has begun manufacturing Zevo 600 electric delivery vans in Canada. The first of them will be delivered to DHL Express in 2023.

BrightDrop, the General Motors subsidiary that manufactures battery-electric delivery vehicles, announced today it will begin supplying vehicles to DHL Express in Canada soon. Entering the Canadian market is BrightDrop’s latest effort to address the $250 billion last mile delivery industry, particularly as companies around the world set goals to electrify their fleets and optimize operations. DHL expects to put the first of the Zevo vans into service early next year.

Separately, the company also announced that production of the Zevo 600 electric delivery van has begun at the newly expanded CAMI Assembly plant in Ontario. That factory is now the first large scale manufacturing facility for electric vehicles in Canada.

BrightDrop offers a suite of products including the Zevo electric delivery vans, the Trace eCarts, and the BrightDrop Core software platform to reduce carbon emissions from last mile delivery while reducing urban congestion.

The Trace eCart is an electric cart that is capable of carrying 200 pounds. It integrates seamlessly with Brightdrop delivery vans to eliminate much of the heavy lifting delivery drivers do as part of their daily rounds. Think of it as a hand cart with an electric motor. It was developed to reduce touches, errors, labor costs, and physical strain on the labor force. In an initial pilot, the Trace eCart enabled couriers to effectively handle 25% more packages per day, the company says. DHL is already testing the eCarts and Brigthdrop’s CORE software platform in Toronto before expanding their usage to other Canadian cities.

“Bringing BrightDrop to Canada and starting production at CAMI is a major step to providing EVs at scale, while delivering real results to the world’s biggest brands,” said Travis Katz, CEO of BrightDrop. “Our international expansion is proof that we can deliver exactly what our customers need where they need it. Having DHL Express Canada come onboard as a new customer shows the confidence legacy brands have in our ability to deliver.” Brightdrop says it has received more than 25,000 production reservations and expressions of interest for its electric delivery vans.

“As the world’s most international logistics company, we understand the important role we can play in pioneering climate-friendly operations, which is why we’re so pleased to be BrightDrop’s customer in Canada as they invest in local Canadian communities, create unique employment opportunities and promote the growth of sustainable transportation,” said Andrew Williams, CEO for DHL Express Canada.

“DHL made a commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, and as we continue to invest in our electric ground fleet worldwide, which now includes 27,000 electric vehicles, relationships such as the one we’re launching with BrightDrop in Canada helps bring us closer to our sustainability goals while also supporting our customers with their own climate goals.”

The company expects to produce 50,000 Zevo vans a year at the CAMI factory by 2025. Scaled production is expected to begin with Zevo 600 models in January 2023 and Zevo 400 models in late 2023.

DHL, which is part of Deutsche Post, is a leader in electrifying its delivery fleet. It has recently ordered 2000 eTransit electric delivery vans from Ford for its European operations. Deutsche Post will invest €7 billion this decade to meet its goal of becoming a net zero emissions logistics company. To get there, it is targeting a share of 60% e-vehicles used for carbon-neutral pickup and delivery by 2030. It currently has about 27,000 vehicles in its global fleet.

Delivery vehicles don’t get much attention from people as they go about their daily life, but many of them are powered by diesel engines that spew out a stream of pollutants every second they are in operation. Electric delivery vehicles have no tailpipe emissions, which means when one of them is stopped next to you in traffic, you and your family are not breathing in exhaust fumes. Delivery fleets are aggressively switching to electric vehicles as they seek to deliver products more efficiently at reduced cost.

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Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. 3000 years ago, Socrates said, "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." Perhaps it's time we listened?


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