Decarbonizing Last Mile Delivery

Rachad Youssef, Chief Product Officer, BrightDrop joined Grayson Brulte on The Road To Autonomy Podcast to discuss decarbonizing last mile delivery.

The conversation begins with Rachad discussing why January 2021 was the right time to launch BrightDrop.

January 2021 was a great opportunity to announce what BrightDrop was going to do, because it was a real date in terms of our ability to deliver.

– Rachad Youssef

With delivery traffic projected to grow 78% by 2030 and the global commitment to decarbonization, BrightDrop created the right product at the right time. One year after announcing the BrightDrop vans, their customers vans are out in the field currently delivering goods to homes and business in the LA region.

The first vans were delivered to FedEx in December 2021, less than one year after launching the company.

It took 14 months to put a vehicle on the road. During that time you have to incorporate a tremendous amount of learnings from studies in the field as well as the ability to find a vehicle platform that can accommodate those needs, and truly tailor it for the use case.

– Rachad Youssef

BrightDrop vans are utilizing GM’s Ultium battery platform providing range of 250 miles on a single charge. As the Ultium battery platform becomes more dense, those new longer range batteries will find their way into the vans.

The ability for us to incorporate new chemistries and new technologies with regards to the battery itself is a commitment from BrightDrop from Day 1.

– Rachad Youssef

BrightDrop is focused on fully integrating software and hardware together to deliver an experience for the delivery driver that is easier than today’s traditional vans. An example of this commitment is the Trace vehicle concept which is integrated into the van’s design. The Trace vehicle allows delivery drivers to move goods quicker and easier.

It’s really about ease of doing business. It’s really about showing our customers that we get it and that we are with them through their deployments.

– Rachad Youssef

One of those customers is Walmart. Walmart is using both the Zevo 400 and Zevo 600 vans as part of their decarbonization strategy for delivery. The decarbonization of last mile delivery using electric vans is only going to accelerate as more companies adopt and implement an ESG strategy.

Wrapping up the conversation, Rachad discusses how his time at Zoox influenced how he approaches design.

Good design for me in this space comes with purpose. In other words, you are really looking for elegant ways to bring simplicity to complex situations.

– Rachad Youssef

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Recorded on Tuesday, April 12, 2022.