Customers in US will start to see Amazon deliver thier packages using its custom electric delivery vehicles from startup Rivian
Amazon is to start reaping the benefits from its investments in Rivian, and is to begin using its custom electric vans for deliveries in the United States.
Amazon announced the carbon reduction development, saying that by the end of the year, there will be “thousands” of Amazon-branded Rivian electric vans making deliveries to more than 100 cities.
The plan is to eventually have 100,000 electric vans in operation by the end of 2030.
Amazon said the electric vehicles will hit the road in Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Kansas City, Nashville, Phoenix, San Diego, Seattle, and St. Louis, among other cities, before expanding across the US.
In January this year there was potentially bad news for the American EV startup, after Amazon signed a partnership deal with car group Stellantis.
On the surface that deal was collaborate to develop cars and trucks with Amazon software incorporated into vehicle infotainment systems and dashboards.
But the deal also meant Amazon will be the first commercial customer of Stellantis’ Ram ProMaster EV slated for 2023. These will run alongside the Rivian vans.
Then Rivian earlier this month said it would brief its staff about restructuring and potential layoffs, as it planned to suspend some programs as part of a broader restructuring.
But Amazon has been an investor in Rivian for a long time now, and it said that its custom electric vans are “designed from the ground-up with safety, sustainability, and comfort in mind, and have been thoroughly tested by drivers across the country.”
Amazon said the move as part of its The Climate Pledge in 2019, included a commitment to reach net-zero carbon across its operations by 2040.
As part of the Pledge, Amazon said it is creating a more sustainable delivery fleet, and its work with Rivian is an important part of decarbonising its last mile logistics as well as accelerating innovation that can help others reach net-zero carbon.
With its commitment to have all 100,000 electric delivery vehicles on the road by 2030, Amazon said this will save millions of metric tons of carbon per year.
“Fighting the effects of climate change requires constant innovation and action, and Amazon is partnering with companies who share our passion for inventing new ways to minimize our impact on the environment,” said Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon.
“Rivian has been an excellent partner in that mission, and we’re excited to see our first custom electric delivery vehicles on the road, said,” said Jassy. “Today marks a significant milestone in our Climate Pledge commitment. Rivian was one of the first companies Amazon invested in through the Climate Pledge Fund, and we’re just getting started on our journey to have 100,000 of Rivian’s vehicles on the road by 2030.”
“And, in addition to being sustainable, these new vehicles are also great for drivers – they were designed with driver input and feedback along the way, and they’re among the safest and most comfortable delivery vehicles on the road today,” he concluded.
“Today represents an important step, not just for Amazon and Rivian as partners, but also for transportation and the environment,” add RJ Scaringe, CEO of Rivian.
“In 2019, Rivian and Amazon committed to fast-tracking a new type of delivery vehicle that would result in a significant reduction of carbon emissions,” said Scaringe. “Thanks to our teams’ dedication, hard work and collaboration, and a shared commitment to make the world a better place for our kids’ kids, that vision is now being realized.”
“To say this is an exciting moment is an understatement – we’re thrilled to see this partnership has kickstarted decarbonization projects across the logistics delivery industry,” Scaringe concluded.
Amazon has apparently been testing deliveries with Rivian preproduction vehicles since 2021, delivering over 430,000 packages and accumulating over 90,000 miles.
This significant testing has allowed Rivian to continuously improve the vehicle’s performance, safety and durability in various climates and geographies as well as its state-of-the-art features to ensure driver satisfaction, and overall functionality.
Rivian has also completed certifications with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, California Air Resources Board, and US Environmental Protection Agency.
The custom vehicles are made at Rivian’s factory in Illinois, and include tech and features such as:
- A safety-first design focused on superior 360-degree visibility, and vehicle features that protect drivers and pedestrians.
- A suite of innovative safety features including sensor detection, highway, and traffic assist technology, a large windshield to enhance driver visibility, automatic emergency breaking, adaptive cruise control, and collision warnings.
- Embedded technology that fully integrates the delivery workflow with the vehicle, enabling seamless access to routing, navigation, driver support and more.
- Features to enhance the driver experience, and create ease on the road such as automatic door locking/unlocking as the driver approaches or leaves the vehicle, and a powered bulkhead door that opens when drivers reach their delivery location.
- A strengthened door on the driver’s side for additional protection, and an ergonomically designed driver’s cabin and cargo area for safe, and easy movement inside the van.
- Batteries that are light, resilient, and low cost in addition to lasting the lifetime of the vehicle.
However CNBC reported that there has been some challenges in the development of the Amazon custom van.
Last November, Amazon delivery drivers charged with testing the vehicles reportedly claimed the vans’ battery drained quickly when heating or cooling was on, threatening the vehicle range, and alleged the battery takes an hour to recharge.
An Amazon executive reportedly that the vehicles would have a range of 150 miles, more than enough for many delivery routes.
And in May, Rivian reportedly filed a lawsuit against a supplier of seats for delivery vans ordered by Amazon, spurring concerns that it could delay the vans.