CEO and founder of Amazon Jeff Bezos says the company is making the single largest order of electric vehicles to date as part of a “Climate Pledge” initiative to make the online retail giant carbon neutral by 2040.
In a video of the announcement that was posted by the e-commerce company on its Twitter news channel, Bezos says that he wants Amazon to undertake a number of measures that would see the company reach the Paris agreement target of zero net carbon by the second half of the century a full ten years early.
(The Paris target of 2.0°C suggests zero carbon is reached after 2050, but the “stretch” target of 1.5°C requires zero carbon by the early 2040s, analysts say).
Amongst the initiatives that the company will undertake to achieve its target is electrifying its massive delivery network with 100,000 electric delivery vans.
“I’m incredibly excited to announce we have just placed an order for 100,000 electric delivery vans,” Bezos said in the statement.
Today, Amazon and @GlobalOptimism announced The #ClimatePledge which calls on signatories to be net zero carbon across their businesses by 2040 – a decade ahead of the Paris Agreement’s goal of 2050. Find out more: https://t.co/hgfe9D4NkR pic.twitter.com/vNXU1JJpNX
— Amazon News (@amazonnews) September 19, 2019
The electric delivery vans will be made by Michigan-based Rivian, the EV startup that wowed crowds at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show and is now backed by Amazon, US auto major Ford and global auto remarketer Cox Automotive to the tune of $A2.2 billion.
Founded by CEO and MIT mechanical engineering graduate RJ Scaringe, the EV maker plans to bring to market the all-electric R1T pickup (ute) and R1S SUV.
Scaringe expressed his enthusiasm on the Amazon deal via Twitter, saying, “Such an exciting day!”
Scaringe and chief engineer for Rivian Brian Gase have both put on record previously that the Rivian R1T and R1S will at some point make their way to Australia.
But when that will be is not yet known, especially now with the company’s focus on producing 100,000 electric delivery vans.
According to Amazon’s senior VP of operations Dave Clark who says Rivian will start supplying the electric delivery vans to Amazon in 2021, it is the most electric vehicles ever ordered in a single go.
Our fleet is Electrifying! Thrilled to announce the order of 100,000 electric delivery vehicles – the largest order of electric delivery vehicles ever. Look out for the new vans starting in 2021. pic.twitter.com/y5qYpuy2WP
— Dave Clark (@davehclark) September 19, 2019
Amazon’s Climate Pledge will also consist of transitioning its global infrastructure to source 80% energy from renewable sources by 2024 and 100% by 2030, as well as investing $100 million in reforestation projects.
Bezos says he will reach out to the CEOs of other major companies to do the same.
“Amazon becomes the first signatory…we want to use out scale and out scope to lead the way,” Bezos said.
With 10 billion deliveries made by the retail giant each year, the goal Bezos has set is by by means an easy challenge but he says that by doing so the company can signal to other companies that it can, and must, be done.
“If we can do this, anyone can do this… we know we have to do this.”
“As this economy develops and people get serious about being carbon zero through real changes to their real business activities, that is going to be a gigantic signal to the marketplace to start inventing, developing these new technologies that these global companies will need to be able to meet this commitment,” he said.
Former United Nation climate change chief and founding partner of Global Optimism joined Bezos on stage during the event to show support for Amazon’s actions.
“This really is now an emergency, and we have to operate here with rigour and with discipline,” she said.
Bezos has previously noted his interest in the electric vehicle industry, telling staff at a company-wide meeting in May that, “It’s going to be something very interesting to watch and participate in, and I’m very excited about that whole industry.”
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.