German car maker Mercedes-Benz has delivered 1,800 electric vans to retail giant Amazon, joining the US company’s climate pledge launched by CEO Jeff Bezos.
The order is additional to that announced last September for an order of 10,000 electric vans from Michigan-based startup Rivian, into which Amazon has invested $US700 million ($A950 million in today’s money).
Rivian’s vans are yet to be delivered – although prototypes of its electric utility truck and SUV have been seen numerous times, even a prototype of its electric van is still elusive.
Mercedes-Benz, however, has come through with 1,800 new electric vans, which will be added to Amazon’s European fleet, where the retail giant already has a number of Mercedes-Benz delivery vans in service at its fulfilment centre in Munich, Germany.
Emissions from transport contribute greatly to climate change; in Australia, approximately 19% of carbon emissions are emitted by the transport sector, thanks to the internal combustion engine vehicle, the development of which is at least partially credited to Mercedes-Benz founder Karl Benz.
According to the World Economic Forum, urban last-mile delivery will explode by 78% by 2030, causing delivery emissions to rise by nearly one-third.
Bezos launched The Climate Pledge in September 2019, saying that the retail giant would work towards becoming carbon-neutral by 2040. That commitment also puts pressure on its suppliers.
By becoming the latest signatory to The Climate Pledge, Mercedes-Benz is seeking to “make the transformation of mobility a success story,” said Ola Källenius, Mercedes-Benz and Daimler chair.
According to Amazon, companies that sign up to The Climate Pledge agree to measure and report greenhouse gas emissions on a regular basis, implement decarbonisation strategies in line with the Paris Agreement and “take actions to neutralize any remaining emissions with additional, quantifiable, real, permanent, and socially-beneficial offsets to achieve net zero annual carbon emissions by 2040.”
The order from Amazon is largest electric order for the German car maker and is comprised of more than 1,200 of Mercedes-Benz’s state-of-the-art eSprinter, which it began production of in late 2019.
The remaining vehicles will be the car maker’s smaller eVito, which will provide a mid-sized delivery format for regions that are better suited to smaller vehicles.
The new electric vans will be made available to delivery service partners in Europe, helping the online retail giant to reduce its carbon emissions under its own “Ambition2039” roadmap to CO2-neutral mobility.
“I am delighted that we are further intensifying our long-standing partnership with Amazon and working together on the battery-electric future of transportation,” said Marcus Breitschwerdt, head of Mercedes-Benz Van in a statement.
“With the eVito and the eSprinter, we have electric vehicles in our portfolio, which are ideally suited for the requirements of the courier-, express- and parcel-service industry for goods delivery on the so-called ‘last mile’ in terms of their equipment and range. They show that local emission-free driving, convincing performance, comfort and low operating costs can be combined perfectly.”
As part of The Climate Pledge, the SU retail giant is investing in renewable energy and has committed to be powered solely by 100% renewable energy by 2025.
Already, Amazon has 91 renewable energy projects with the capacity to generate over 2,900MW, which equatew to more than 7.5 million MWh of energy annually.
Amazon’s projects include 60 solar rooftops on fulfillment and sorting centres and 31 utility-scale wind and solar renewable energy projects around the globe.
In addition to its range of electric vans, Mercedes-Benz has already released the all-electric EQC that in Australia is priced from $137,900.
It has also started taking orders in Europe for the long wheelbase, flexible, EQV family van, and is also planning a luxury EQS sedan to rival Tesla that it says will have more than 700km driving range.
Bridie Schmidt is associate editor for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model Y and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.