Amazon unveils new fleet of electric delivery vehicles; plans to put 100,000 on the road by 2030

August 8-14, 2022

By The Daily Record Staff


Now almost as common as the U.S. Postal Services’ mail truck, Amazon will soon hit the road with its fleet of new customer electric delivery vehicles.


On July 21, the Seattle-based retail conglomerate rolled out its new electric vehicle (EV) delivery trucks from Irvine, Calif.-based Rivian Automotive Inc. in Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Kansas City, Nashville, Phoenix, San Diego, Seattle, and St. Louis, among other cities. 


Amazon officials said the recent rollout is just the beginning of what is expected to be thousands of custom electric delivery vehicles in more than 100 cities by the end of this year and 100,000 across the U.S. by 2030. They are the product of Amazon’s partnership with Rivian, which the companies announced in 2019 when Amazon co-founded, and became the first signatory of The Climate Pledge — a commitment to reach net-zero carbon across their operations by 2040. 


As part of the pledge, Amazon said it is creating a more sustainable delivery fleet. Its partnership with Rivian is an important part of decarbonizing its last mile logistics and accelerating innovation that can help others reach net-zero carbon. With its commitment to have all 100,000 electric delivery vehicles on the road by 2030, Amazon’s goal is to save millions of metric tons of carbon per year.


“Fighting the effects of climate change requires constant innovation and action, and Amazon is partnering with companies who share our passion for inventing new ways to minimize our impact on the environment. Rivian has been an excellent partner in that mission, and we’re excited to see our first custom electric delivery vehicles on the road,” said Amazon CEO Andy Jassy. “[This] marks a significant milestone in our Climate Pledge commitment. Rivian was one of the first companies Amazon invested in through the Climate Pledge Fund, and we’re just getting started on our journey to have 100,000 of Rivian’s vehicles on the road by 2030. And, in addition to being sustainable, these new vehicles are also great for drivers — they were designed with driver input and feedback along the way, and they’re among the safest and most comfortable delivery vehicles on the road today.”


“Today represents an important step, not just for Amazon and Rivian as partners, but also for transportation and the environment,” added RJ Scaringe, CEO of Rivian. “In 2019, Rivian and Amazon committed to fast-tracking a new type of delivery vehicle that would result in a significant reduction of carbon emissions. Thanks to our teams’ dedication, hard work and collaboration, and a shared commitment to make the world a better place for our kids’ kids, that vision is now being realized. To say this is an exciting moment is an understatement — we’re thrilled to see this partnership has kickstarted decarbonization projects across the logistics delivery industry.”


Amazon said it has been testing deliveries with Rivian pre-production vehicles since 2021, delivering over 430,000 packages and accumulating over 90,000 miles. This significant testing has allowed Rivian to improve the vehicle’s performance, safety and durability in various climates and geographies, as well as its state-of-the-art features to ensure driver satisfaction and overall functionality, officials said.


Rivian has also completed certifications with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, California Air Resources Board, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. To date, the California EV startup has only produced 5,000 vehicles and recently announced restructuring plans to stem nearly $1.6 billion in losses in the first quarter.


Rivian is expected to announce its second-quarter earnings on Aug. 11 and update shareholders on its plans to ramp up manufacturing to meet the Amazon production schedule. On the consumer side, Rivian also began production of its flagship R1T and R1S products, which are the company’s branded pickup truck and luxury SUV.


According to the company’s 10Q filings with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission, Rivian had over 90K net R1 preorders from consumers in the U.S. and Canada, all of which have been attracted by organic growth and brand awareness and without any paid marketing or media. Company officials said the California EV manufacturer has received over 10,000 R1 SUV preorders for the US and Canadian market with an average price of over $93,000.


The custom last-mile vehicles for Amazon are made at Rivian’s factory in Illinois, and include innovative technology and features such as:


A safety-first design focused on superior 360-degree visibility, and vehicle features that protect drivers and pedestrians.


A suite of innovative safety features including sensor detection, highway, and traffic assist technology, a large windshield to enhance driver visibility, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and collision warnings.


First-of-its-kind embedded technology that fully integrates the delivery workflow with the vehicle, enabling seamless access to routing, navigation, driver support and more.


Features to enhance the driver experience, and create ease on the road such as automatic door locking/unlocking as the driver approaches or leaves the vehicle, and a powered bulkhead door that opens when drivers reach their delivery location.


A strengthened door on the driver’s side for additional protection, and an ergonomically designed driver’s cabin and cargo area for safe, and easy movement inside the van.


Batteries that are light, resilient and low cost in addition to lasting the lifetime of the vehicle.


Amazon, which reported sales of $470 billion in 2021, said it has also added thousands of charging stations at its delivery stations across the country and will continue to invest in building an infrastructure to support a more sustainable delivery fleet. Amazon has also partnered with the nonprofit CERES, and several other fleet operators to launch the Corporate Electric Vehicle Alliance, bringing together companies to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles. 


In April 2021, Amazon announced that it has scaled up its renewable energy investments with 37 new renewable energy projects around the world, marking considerable progress on the company’s path to power 100% of its operations with renewable energy by 2025 — five years ahead of the original target of 2030. 


The new projects include two solar developments in Arkansas’ Cross and Crittenden counties first announced in June 2021. According to an interactive map on the company’s website, Amazon’s Big Cypress solar farm will be located in Crittenden. That 120-megawatt (MW) facility is scheduled to come online in 2023, although the West Coast technology giant has not announced a construction partner or project timetable. Amazon’s other 135 MW solar project in nearby Cross County will also come online in 2023. No details were provided on its construction partners or project timeline.


The Seattle-based technology and online conglomerate currently operates two mammoth fulfillment centers in Central Arkansas, where hundreds of employees work alongside automated robots to pick, pack and ship small items to customers anywhere across the globe.


Amazon also operates delivery stations in Central and Northwest Arkansas, which power the last mile of Amazon’s order fulfillment process. At those 60,000 to 85,000 square foot centers in Lowell, Little Rock and North Little Rock, packages are transported to delivery stations from Amazon’s fulfillment and sortation centers, and then loaded into vehicles for delivery to customers.  


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Amazon and Rivian plan to bring thousands of custom electric delivery vehicles to more than 100 cities by the end of this year, and 100,000 across the U.S. by 2030.