US online retail giant Amazon has commenced using electric delivery vans made by Rivian, signalling the beginning of a massive shift to clean up the delivery of the company’s 2.5 billion packages a year.
The Rivian vans are the first of a massive 100,000 unit order from Amazon in 2019, which was timed with the retail giant’s Climate Pledge in which it invited companies to commit to net-zero carbon emissions by 2040, a decade ahead of the Paris accord.
To put that number in context, at the end of 2019 Amazon had just 30,000 vans in its North American operations according to Bloomberg.
In 2019 Amazon also led a $US700 million ($A920 million) investment round in Rivian, which is also developing an all-electric SUV and ute (pickup), the latter of which the company’s CEO RJ Scaringe shared as he drove it in the snowy mountains outside Los Angeles on Sunday.
Rivian shared the news of the Amazon deliveries on Twitter:
— Rivian (@Rivian) February 3, 2021
The new electric vans from Rivian have been undergoing testing for four months now according to a statement by the retail giant, in a variety of conditions as the company readies for volume production by the end of 2021.
The 240km driving range vans have been built at Rivian’s studio in Michigan, although the company’s headquarters have been relocated Southern California.
Amazon says they’re already getting good feedback on the vans: “We’re loving the enthusiasm from customers so far—from the photos we see online to the car fans who stop our drivers for a first-hand look at the vehicle,” said Ross Rachey, director of Amazon’s global fleet and products.
“From what we’ve seen, this is one of the fastest modern commercial electrification programs, and we’re incredibly proud of that.”
Amazon also has a smaller fleet of 1,800 Mercedes-Benz electric vans, which service the company’s European operations.
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 since 2018. She 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.