In a blog post today, Amazon revealed a video, photos, and a few details of its custom electric delivery vehicle designed and built in partnership with Rivian.
In addition to photos of the prototype in a factory setting, Amazon supplied a few of the van’s features. Those include a suite of highway and traffic assist technologies, exterior cameras around the vehicle that link to a display inside the cabin, Alexa integration (of course!) for hands-free access to digital information, bright taillights in the rear of the vehicle to easily detect braking, and a strengthened driver’s side door.
Inside, the van will have three levels of shelving and a bulkhead door, as well as a “dancefloor” inside the driver’s cabin for “easy movement inside the van.”
Significantly, however, the post did not include details of the battery or drivetrain.
"We combined Rivian’s technology with our delivery logistics knowledge, and the result is what you see here — the future of last mile delivery," said Ross Rachey, director of Amazon's Global Fleet and Products, in the post.
"The vehicle we’ve developed with Amazon is not just electric. We prioritized safety and functionality to create a vehicle that’s optimized for package delivery," said RJ Scaringe, Rivian CEO. "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."
The Rivian delivery EV supports Amazon’s Climate Pledge commitment to be net zero carbon by 2040, which Amazon revealed as part of the original Rivian partnership announcement in September 2019. At the time, Amazon laid down the gauntlet with a 100,000-unit order, the largest to date for an electric delivery vehicle, with all 100,000 to be deployed by 2030.
Amazon initially said the first electric delivery vehicles would hit the streets starting in 2021, though that timeframe has been pushed back at least a year. In subsequent posts this year and in today’s post, Amazon committed to 10,000 electric delivery vehicles on the road “as early as 2022.”
The Rivian EV is one of three electric models that Amazon has invested in.
In August, the company announced the addition of 1,800 Mercedes electric delivery vehicles, eSprinter and eVito models, for its fleet in Europe. Amazon also plans to add 10,000 electric delivery vehicles to its fleet in India by 2025.
Last month, Lion Electric pledged to deliver 10 all-electric box trucks to Amazon, with two on the road by the end of this year.
In the EU, Amazon also uses e-cargo bikes for deliveries in some urban centers and operates 200 e-cargo bikes in the New York City area.
Rivian unveiled its flagship vehicle models, the all-electric R1T pickup and R1S SUV, at the LA Auto Show in 2018, with plans to begin delivering to customers in late 2020.
That timeframe has been pushed back as well. In July, Rivian confirmed those vehicles won’t launch until June 2021.