Amazon’s cool Rivian electric delivery trucks have a ‘dancefloor’

Rivian, Amazon

Amazon has revealed its first custom-built electric delivery truck, designed and built in partnership with electric vehicle company Rivian.

“When we set out to create our first customised 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 neighbourhood and pulling up to their home,” Ross Rachey, Director of Amazon’s Global Fleet and Products, said in a press release.

“We combined Rivian’s technology with our delivery logistics knowledge, and the result is what you see here – the future of last-mile delivery.”

To support The Climate Pledge commitment by Amazon to be net zero carbon by 2040, 10,000 Amazon custom electric delivery vehicles will be on the road delivering to customers worldwide as early as 2022 and all 100,000 by 2030, the ecommerce business said.

“The vehicle we’ve developed with Amazon is not just electric. We prioritised safety and functionality to create a vehicle that’s optimised 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-made electric truck is unmistakably Amazon. Photo: Amazon

Amazon’s Rivian electric vehicle is packed with industry-leading safety, navigation and design features, including:

  • State-of-the-art sensor detection, a suite of highway and traffic assist technology, and a large windshield to enhance driver visibility.
  • Exterior cameras around the vehicle that are linked to a digital display inside the cabin, giving the driver a 360-degree view outside the vehicle.
  • Alexa integration for hands-free access to route information and the latest weather updates.
  • A strengthened door on the driver’s side for additional protection.
  • A ‘dancefloor’ inside the driver’s cabin for easy movement inside the van.
  • Bright tail lights surrounding the rear of the vehicle to easily detect braking.
  • Three levels of shelving with a bulkhead door, which can easily be opened and closed for additional driver protection while on the road.

Jeff Bezos’s company led a US$700 million investment in Rivian in February 2019, without disclosing the exact amount it was contributing. In April, Ford announced a US$500 million investment in Rivian that the companies said would result in a new electric vehicle to be sold by the auto giant. Further, Rivian secured a US$350 million investment from Cox Automotive, a big name in the retail and logistics space. In July this year, Rivian received US$2.5 billion in a round of funding led by T Rowe Price, with Amazon a participant.

The Amazon electric truck will clearly be identifiable. Photo: Amazon

“We are working to advance and implement the technology that will support these vans – ranging from the physical charging infrastructure to enhancements and optimisation of our delivery stations,” said Rachey.

Prior to investing in Rivian, Amazon was unable to find electric options that met the needs of its drivers and delivery operations. Instead of waiting for the industry to advance, Amazon partnered with Rivian to accelerate the path to an electric delivery vehicle that fit its needs. Together they invented a solution that Rachey believes will reset industry expectations for electric delivery vehicle capabilities.

“We hope our custom electric vehicle helps create a sense of urgency in the industry to think big about embracing sustainable technology and solutions – whether you’re a package delivery company, a logistics company, an ice cream manufacturer, or almost anyone else with vehicles on the road,” said Rachey.

In support of The Climate Pledge, Amazon is committed to creating a delivery fleet that helps reach its goal to be net zero carbon across its operations by 2040. To achieve that, Amazon is transforming its transportation network around the world by inventing new electrification solutions and using alternative delivery methods.

10,000 Amazon custom electric delivery vehicles will be on the road delivering to customers worldwide as early as 2022.

Amazon operates hundreds of electric vehicles worldwide and has invested in electric vehicle charging stations for its partners to use, with plans to expand this infrastructure. The company announced that it’s adding 1,800 electric delivery vehicles this year to its fleet in Europe and is also adding 10,000 electric delivery vehicles to its fleet in India, operating in more than 20 cities by 2025. In the EU, Amazon also uses e-cargo bikes for deliveries in some urban centres and operates 200 e-cargo bikes in the New York City area.

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