General Motors’ commercial electric vehicle startup, Brightdrop, has been busy. In addition to supplying FedEx with a bunch of new electric parcel delivery trucks (likely with built-in air conditioning), it’s also been coming up with smaller electric-powered devices.
We’ve seen the EP1, a motorized pallet designed to make things easier for delivery drivers. On Monday, Brightdrop announced its Trace Grocery electronic temperature-controlled shopping cart, which is intended to help with grocery order fulfillment for delivery services as well as with curbside pickups.
If that sounds like kind of a niche thing for a GM subsidiary to get into, it isn’t. The online grocery industry is valued at up to $240 billion a year, and anything that can be done to streamline the process of getting groceries from shelves and into customer’s homes is going to be a seriously attractive investment from industry giants like Kroger, which ran the Trace Grocery pilot program for Brightdrop.
Among the Trace Grocery’s headline features are the ability to store food items at safe temps for up to four hours, the ability to provide propulsion assistance for loads of up to 350 pounds and nine individual compartments to allow orders to be separated by temperature and product type. It’s also weatherproof because, well, it’d have to be.
Brightdrop has already started limited production of the Trace Grocery, but full-scale production won’t begin until 2024.