Amazon presents the first tailor-made delivery van the company has developed together with Rivian. The all-electric transporter builds the base of an order that is easily not just the largest in Rivian’s young history but among the biggest in the world.
The online retail giant has been looking to green their logistic operations for some time as part of an initiative called The Climate Pledge. US start-up Rivian was early on board since Amazon placed an order over 10,000 e-vans a year ago. The total order is for no less than 100,000 electric delivery vehicles by 2030. Despite a bump in production, Rivian has since said they were keeping the timeline. Amazon expects delivery to start in 2022.
Debuting the unique design thus seems well in time. The van, as seen on the Amazon blog, is one of three different models that Amazon says they “completely customized with Rivian to enhance the driver experience and optimize safety”.
RJ Scaringe, the Rivian CEO also stressed the view on deliveries: “We thought through how drivers get in and out of the van, what the workspace feels like and what the workflow is for delivering packages.”
Features include a “dancefloor” (sic!) inside the driver’s cabin for easy movement inside the van when delivering parcels as well as a strengthened door, three levels of shelving and Alexa-assisted and other enhanced driving features. The large windshield and rear lights, which cover the entire upper half like a band of lights, do catch the eye and again there to enhance safety.
What is missing is information on the actual spec and drive technology. We do remember how Rivian entered the stage in 2019, then presenting the all-electric R1T pickup with impressive spec at the LA Auto Show. Just one day later, Rivian showed the R1S, a corresponding electric SUV. Both models utilize what Rivian calls a skateboard platform that other manufacturers may use as well.
Or end customers may make use of like Amazon. The retailer states that part of their decision to invest in Rivian was that they had been “unable to find” other zero-emission options to suit their requirements. Instead of waiting for the industry to advance, Amazon partnered with Rivian. They ended up designing a solution that Ross Rachey, Director of Amazon’s Global Fleet and Products hopes will “create a sense of urgency in the industry to think big about embracing sustainable technology and solutions—whether you’re a package delivery company, a logistics company, an ice cream manufacturer, or almost anyone else with vehicles on the road”.
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So far, the Amazon leadership has worked since they took a stake in 700-million-dollar funding round as early as in February 2019 and renewed their engagement this July when Rivian collected another 2.5 billion dollars as reported. Ford invested 500 million dollars in April last year and in September, Cox Automotive announced its $350 million investment in Rivian, complemented by plans to collaborate on logistics and service.
Besides, Amazon has extended its supply chain for electric vehicles in support of The Climate Pledge that includes the goal to be net-zero carbon across its operations by 2040. The company is expecting 1,800 electric transporters from Mercedes-Benz Vans with deliveries to begin this year as reported.
These vans are for Europe, where Amazon has relied on local and established manufacturers. In Munich, they use 40 StreetScooters and ten Mercedes eVito. Amazon recently added 340 charging stations and said it operates more than 150 electric delivery vehicles every day at its distribution centre in Essen, Germany, together with a Mercedes partner.
The company also announced they would add 10,000 electric delivery vehicles, including rickshaws, to the fleet operating in over 20 cities in India by 2025.
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