Amazon recently unveiled its first all-electric delivery van, which will help in its pursuit to become a carbon-neutral company by 2040, as part of its commitment to The Climate Pledge. The electric vehicle is built by Rivian, a startup that Amazon has heavily invested in, and is set to hit roads in 2021.
According to the e-commerce giant, it expects 10,000 units of the van to be on the road making deliveries as early as 2022. The company had previously ordered a total of 100,000 vans from Rivian, and all of them are said to enter service by 2030. The van is just one of three different models that Amazon has invested in, and is completely customized with Rivian to “enhance the driver experience and optimise safety.”
“When we set out to create our first customized electric delivery vehicle with Rivian, we knew that it needed to far surpass any other delivery vehicle. We wanted drivers to love using it and customers to feel excited when they saw it driving through their neighborhood and pulling up to their home,” said Ross Rachey, director of global fleet and products at Amazon.
“The vehicle we’ve developed with Amazon is not just electric. We prioritised safety and functionality to create a vehicle that’s optimized for package delivery. We thought through how drivers get in and out of the van, what the work space feels like and what the work flow is for delivering packages,” added RJ Scaringe, CEO of Rivian.
Details of the vehicle’s powertrain like the battery, range and other specifications weren’t provided by Amazon, but we are introduced to some of the features. These include a suite of highway and traffic assist technologies backed by sensors as well as exterior camera to give the driver a 360-degree view outside the vehicle. Unsurprisingly, there’s also Alexa integration for hands-free navigation help and weather updates.
Design-wise, the van sports a face reminiscent of the Honda e, but with a large, rounded body that is obviously meant for maximising cargo capacity. Through a bulkhead door for quick access, drivers will have access to three levels of shelving for packages. Amazon also touts a “dancefloor” inside the cabin for easy movement within the van, along with a strengthened driver-side door for added protection.
Aside from making delivery vans for Amazon, Rivian is also building its R1T, with deliveries of the pick-up truck set to begin in June 2021. The company also an SUV based on the R1T – called the R1S – that will make its way to customers later in August 2021.
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