Amazon starts delivering packages with Rivian electric vans

Amazon announced on Thursday that it would start using electric vans developed in partnership with Rivian to make deliveries.

Amazon

Amazon is starting to roll out some of the electric delivery vans it developed with Rivian Automotive, the companies announced Thursday.

In September 2019, Amazon founder and then-CEO Jeff Bezos took the stage at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., to announce that the company had purchased 100,000 electric vehicles from the startup as part of its ambitious ambition. to achieve net zero carbon. emissions across all of its operations by 2040.

Amazon launched a version of the van in October 2020 and then tested the vehicles in a number of cities throughout 2021. Now Amazon says it will use the electric vehicles to make deliveries in a handful of cities, including Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Kansas City, Nashville, Tennessee, Phoenix, San Diego, Seattle, and St. Louis, among others.

Amazon said it expects to have “thousands” of Rivian vans in more than 100 cities by the end of this year, the first step toward its goal of having 100,000 electric delivery vehicles on the road. in the United States by 2030.

“Addressing the effects of climate change requires constant innovation and action, and Amazon partners with companies that share our passion to invent new ways to minimize our impact on the environment,” said the Amazon CEO. , Andy Jassy, ​​in a statement. “Rivian has been a great partner on this mission, and we are excited to see our first custom electric delivery vehicles on the road. »

Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe said the rollout of the vehicle is an “important step” in efforts to decarbonise last-mile delivery.

Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe and Amazon CEO Andy Jassy tour one of the company’s electric delivery vans.

Amazon

Amazon oversees a massive shipping and logistics network, and much of its delivery operations are in-house. As part of that, it increasingly relies on a sprawling army of contracted delivery companies to deliver packages to customers’ doorsteps, who mostly use dark blue Amazon-branded vans that burn fossil fuels.

The deployment of Rivian encountered some difficulties. Last November, Amazon delivery drivers responsible for testing the vehicles claimed that the pickup truck’s battery drained quickly when the heating or cooling was turned on, threatening the vehicle’s range, and alleged that the battery took an hour to recharge, according to The Information. An Amazon executive told the outlet that the vehicles will have a range of 150 miles, more than enough for many delivery routes.

In May, Rivian filed a lawsuit against a supplier of seats for delivery vans ordered by Amazon, sparking concerns that it could delay the vans, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Rivian faced a series of challenges to ramp up production of its own R1T and R1S electric vehicles. The company halved its 2022 production forecast in March to just 25,000 vehicles, including Amazon pickup trucks, amid supply chain constraints and early problems with its assembly line. He reiterated that prediction earlier this month. Rivian will release its second quarter results on August 11.

Amazon, which has backed Rivian through its Climate Pledge Fund, says it remains committed to building a more sustainable delivery fleet. To support electric pickups, Amazon has added thousands of charging stations to its US delivery depots.

Amazon has tapped other automakers besides Rivian to electrify its fleet. In January, Amazon said it would buy thousands of Ram electric vans from Stellantis, and it also ordered single-unit Mercedes-Benz vans from Daimler for package deliveries.

— CNBC John Rosevear contributed to this story.

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