May 20, 2022

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Our first impressions after driving the new FedEx electric delivery truck

Our first impressions after driving the new FedEx electric delivery truck

Zoom / BrightDrop has efficiently leveraged GM’s new electric vehicle platform, turning the Zevo 600 from idea to reality in less than two years.

With the advancement of new electric vehicles, the BrightDrop Zevo 600 is very simple. It has a full suite of the latest driver safety and a Google-powered infotainment system, but you can see the bare metallic leather when you look in the door from the driver’s seat, and it’s offset by the innate calmness of its electric powertrain—the rattling and banging attendants of the rear drum door. But that’s fine because the Zevo 600 is a commercial truck, and that means being reliable, efficient and safe is more important than having the last word on refinement.

We’ve been following BrightDrop’s development for a while now. The startup broke the lid for the first time at CES in 2021 by… Mary Barra from General Motors During her keynote speech at the conference. Take advantage of GM’s new platform from batteries And electric motorsBrightDrop Racing The new Hummer EV To be the fastest-growing car in General Motors history in just 20 months.

As in the Hummer EV, you’ll find a dual slab of lithium-ion cells between the wheelbase of the Zevo 600. In this case, there are 20 units (versus 24 in the Hummer, or just 12 in the Hummer EV). Upcoming Cadillac Lyric SUV), enough for a range of less than 250 miles (402 km). To prove it, the truck drove from New York City to Washington, D.C. on Thursday on one charge.

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To celebrate Earth Day, Zevo 600 drove from Full Circle's headquarters in New York City to deliver some of the company's cleaning products to Mom's Organic Market, a local supermarket in the capital.
Zoom / To celebrate Earth Day, Zevo 600 drove from Full Circle’s headquarters in New York City to deliver some of the company’s cleaning products to Mom’s Organic Market, a local supermarket in the capital.

Bright Drop

FedEx is BrightDrop’s first customer, and the electric vehicle has been designed to come relatively painlessly into its California fleet operations. So the throttle map was chosen to replicate the 230 hp (171 kW) diesel engine you might find in a conventional FedEx truck. It’s not fast, but it’s not supposed to be.

Because it’s built from the same set of tools as other new EVs from General Motors, the Zevo 600 has access to the same components and subsystems. So it has a range of the latest in advanced safety-oriented driver assistance systems, for example. It even has the electronic architecture to support Super Cruise, should anyone come up with a business case to make that useful.

While the Zevo 600 is configured as a FedEx work vehicle, it’s not exactly barebones, despite its exposed doors. Android Automotive’s latest infotainment package means Google’s voice assistant is on board and waiting for help, and there are USB-A and USB-C ports, as well as two 120-volt AC outlets. And the truck is more spacious – the door to the cargo area is especially spacious.

On a short drive, the Zevo 600 was easy to put on the road despite its size. Composite side mirrors worked well, and downtown looked positively cinematic as it was framed by the wraparound windshield. With the drive selector in the low range setting, throttle mapping was judged perfectly for single-pedal driving, and the steering was light and revealed an impressively tight turning circle.

My trip was too short to get any direct insights into the energy consumption of the Zevo 600, but the trip meter showed 1.8 mph/kWh over 348 miles (560 km), and at least 260 of those miles were at highway speed rather than That’s the low-speed creep that electric vehicles are good at. As with the Ford e-Transit, I drove in JanuaryIt’s a very boisterous driving experience, mostly because trucks like this are big empty boxes on wheels and don’t have the fading sound and interior trim that silences all that stuff in passenger cars.

Since it’s a common question every time we look at electric trucks, BrightDrop has asked about potential private sales — imagine a modern-day GMC motorhome — but that will likely require waiting patiently for the first Zevo 600s to start their second lives after their working days are over. Currently, BrightDrop has a lot of pickup trucks that can be built for fleet customers like FedEx and Walmart.