Walmart has reserved 5,000 electric delivery vehicles from General Motors-backed developer BrightDrop to support the expansion of its InHome delivery service.
The US retail giant unveiled plans to expand the availability of the service from 6 million households to 30 million by the end of the year. To support the expansion, Walmart plans to hire more than 3,000 associate delivery drivers this year as well as build a fleet of 100% all-electric delivery vans.
BrightDrop will supply its EV600 and smaller EV410 electric delivery vans as part of the agreement, which will also complement Walmart’s goal of operating a zero-emissions logistics fleet by 2040. BrightDrop has said that its electric vans could enter service for Walmart as early as 2023.
Appearing at CES in Las Vegas, BrightDrop also announced that it had expanded its partnership with FedEx with the priority production of 2,000 electric delivery vans over the next few years. This agreement adds to FedEx’s initial reservation of 500 BrightDrop EVs announced last year. In addition, FedEx is working on a plan to add up to 20,000 more electric vans in the years to follow. FedEx also unveiled plans to expand its testing of BrightDrop’s EP1 electrified container to 10 markets beginning in 2022.
Travis Katz, president and CEO of BrightDrop, said, “BrightDrop’s mission is to decarbonize the world’s deliveries. We leverage the best of two worlds – the innovation, agility and focus of a technology startup with the engineering and manufacturing might of General Motors. This combination, coupled with BrightDrop’s holistic solution set, gives us powerful advantages that uniquely position us to support the world’s largest delivery companies, like Walmart and FedEx, with their robust sustainability goals. Today’s commitments showcase our ability to power the electrification journey of some of the world’s biggest companies.”
Tom Ward, senior vice president of last mile, Walmart US, said, “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. BrightDrop’s proven ability to bring a sustainable electric van to market makes it a great partner to support our growing InHome delivery service, and we look forward to continue driving our goal of operating a 100% zero-emissions logistics fleet by 2040.”
Richard Smith, regional president of the Americas and EVP of FedEx Express, said, “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. With the collaboration and innovative technology of companies like GM and BrightDrop, we will continue to meet the world’s increasing transportation needs in more environmentally sustainable ways for our customers, shareholders and communities.”
Following a Toronto-based pilot announced in January 2021, which saw a 25% increase in package deliveries per day when using BrightDrop’s EP1 electric container, BrightDrop also announced the completion of a second pilot with FedEx in New York City. In this limited pilot, the integration of BrightDrop’s EP1 enabled FedEx Express couriers to increase package deliveries by 15% per hour, remove one on-road vehicle from the delivery route and cut delivery vehicle curbside dwell time in half, when used on routes in a high-density, vertical urban environment – all while reducing physical strain on couriers. FedEx plans to expand the EP1 testing to 10 markets beginning in 2022.
The BrightDrop EV600 is currently in production and the new EV410 will be available in late 2023.