Home Big Tech GM’s Barra Focuses on Brightdrop Delivery Partnerships and EV Future

GM’s Barra Focuses on Brightdrop Delivery Partnerships and EV Future

GM CEO Mary Barra at CES 2022 Keynote
General Motors Chair and CEO Mary Barra delivers the virtual keynote at CES 2022, outlining the waves of change that are coming as society moves toward the mass adoption of electric vehicles. (Photo by Steve Fecht for Chevrolet)

Keynote addresses by the CEOs of auto companies have been a staple of CES for more than a decade, and that was the case Wednesday at the 2022 edition of the show. Mary Barra, the chief executive of General Motors, addressed the show, where she discussed both the company’s new and upcoming electric vehicles, as well as some of the company’s high-profile new partnerships.  

Barra did not appear in person at CES, after the company was one of many to drop its in-person presence in Las Vegas, but instead delivered her address from the Fox Theatre in Detroit.  

The biggest piece of news to come from the address was a pair of high-profile partnerships that the company announced, with FedEx and Walmart. Each agreed to receive the company’s electric BrightDrop vans, with Walmart reserving 5,000 and FedEx agreeing to build on its previous order of 500. This came a year after BrightDrop was first introduced by GM at the 2021 CES.  

The keynote described the deal as part of the effort to “decarbonize the last mile” of delivery. GM has also promised to convert 50 percent of manufacturing to electric vehicles by 2030, and on Wednesday Barra reiterated that GM plans to fully transition to EVs by 2035.  

Also part of the announcements were that of a new, electric version of the Chevy Silverado called the Silverado EV, as well as the Blazer EV, both of which will arrive on the market in 2023. Those, along with the rest of the company’s fleet, uses the Ultium lithium-electric architecture.  

Like most of the companies presenting at CES thus far, GM also addressed sustainability, diversity, and inclusion in its presentation.  

The keynote came the day after GM was overtaken as the top-selling automaker in the U.S. in a year, with Toyota outselling GM in 2021. It was the first time in 90 years, according to Reuters, that GM wasn’t the top automaker.  

Barra’s address followed an introductory speech by CTA president/CEO Gary Shapiro and executive vice president for CES Karen Chupka, in which they touted the return of CES to Las Vegas, as well as many of their efforts over the two years of the pandemic. In a likely reference to current political debates about content moderation and other contentious issues related to the tech industry, Shapiro said that “we ask political leaders to work with the tech community to support innovation.”