Amazon using Rivian’s expertise to build 100,000 EVs

Amazon is one of the world’s largest online marketplaces which results in millions of deliveries per year. The company has announced a pretty amazing partnership with Rivian to create fully electric delivery vehicles.

It is clear through programs like Amazon Prime that they understand the delivery time and experience is directly linked to how often people use the service.

Showing leadership in this space, Amazon aren’t dipping their toe in the water with a small-scale trial, they’ve committed to build 100,000 electric delivery vehicles.

By leveraging the vehicle design and engineering talent of a company like Rivian, they can set ambitious goals like delivering the packages via EVs next year.

“We are focused on driving efficiency into every aspect of the vehicle design—everything from cabin heating to driver ergonomics to drivetrain design has been optimized for time and energy.”

“And then the echo effect of this, of causing other logistics players in this space to also look at how they drive up efficiency within their fleet, will have a very large impact.”

R.J. Scaringe, CEO of Rivian.

Most vehicle development cycles are 3-4 years at best, so to announce now and have them on the road in 2021 is seriously impressive if they can achieve it.

It’s important to remember that Rivian are yet to ship a single vehicle, but are planning on delivering the R1T Trucka nd the R1S SUV which are both available for pre-order in the US.

A large order of 100,000 units from Amazon will certainly help the company financially, but will need a dedicated team and production line to achieve.

We created The Climate Pledge and are investing in 100,000 Rivian electric delivery vans to demonstrate that there is a large and growing market for green technologies.

Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide operations

Some company’s, like Amazon, believe what was committed to at Paris, wasn’t aggressive enough. To resolve that, they committed to The Climate Pledge, which aims to meet the Paris Agreement 10 years early. The pledge also calls on signatories to become net zero carbon across their businesses by 2040, a decade ahead of the Paris Accord’s goal of 2050.

In the 13 years of running techAU, I’ve dealt with dozens of courier companies and none are exceptional. Some are adequate, just, but most are pretty terrible. While package tracking has come a long way, the delivery window and treatment of packages in transit, still leaves a lot to be desired.

While changing the distribution helps the planet, it won’t solve all the issues in deliveries. What is interesting about this announcement is that it confirms Amazon doesn’t believe autonomous delivery vehicles are coming any time soon.

From what we know these new EV delivery vans use an EV drivetrain, but still very much rely on humans driving them. This also raises the question about their plans for drone-based delivery. With an investment of many, many millions into 100,000 EV delivery vans, it seems we’re unlikely to see fleets of drones as well.

There’s some amazing behind the scenes images available on Amazon’s DayOne blog.

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Jason Cartwright
Jason Cartwright
Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021

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