Amazon partners with Rivian to design own electric delivery van

25 September 2019

Amazon’s order for 100,000 fully-electric delivery vans is by far and away the biggest EV fleet deal in history.

But the mega-money contract is evidence of much more than another major operator giving electric mobility a massive vote of confidence.

Read between the lines and it also speaks volumes about how the emergence of new technology is changing the buying patterns of large fleets and logistics companies.

The entire logistics ecosystem is evolving, and the big players are now looking for end-to-end solutions that work seamlessly to maximise the speed and efficiency of their chains.

And this, coupled with the emergence of a new-breed of start-up, cutting-edge manufacturers, is enabling vehicle makers and end users to collaborate more than even before.

By working together from an early investment stage, they can develop vehicles from the wheels-up to ensure they tick every box and make the movement of goods quicker and quicker.

In Amazon’s case, that means a working partnership with the exciting American electric SUV maker Rivian. Together they aim to develop Amazon’s ideal delivery van, with 10,000 hitting the roads as early as 2022 and a further 90,000 added by 2030.

Amazon claims this will help cut four million metric tons of carbon emissions per year by 2030 by running on 100% renewably energy and meet the objectives set out in the Paris Climate Accord, namely to be net carbon zero by 2040 – a full decade ahead of schedule.

As the corporation’s founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, said: “We’re done being in the middle of the herd on this issue – we’ve decided to use our size and scale to make a difference.

“If a company with as much physical infrastructure as Amazon – which delivers more than 10 billion items a year – can meet the Paris Agreement 10 years early, then anyone can.”

The ambitious statement comes following the global giant’s $700 million investment in Rivian back in February 2019. With eyes set on more seamless and efficient deliveries as well as the business potential of electric vehicles, this new deal, worth $440 million, will, according to Amazon, “accelerate the production of electric vehicles critical to reducing emissions from transportation”.

Another major player taking a similar approach is Deutsche Post DHL.

Earlier this year TNB reported how DHL and electric vehicle maker StreetScooter are collaborating on a new electric delivery vehicle.

The new H2 Panel Van will become, according to DHL, the first 4.25-tonne electric vehicle with an added fuel cell, which will provide additional power and enable a range up to 500 kilometres.

In a first step, DHL has ordered 100 of the fuel cell vehicles, with delivery expected from 2020 through 2021.

More recently, the logistics giant took delivery of its 10,000th StreetScooter model in Germany, after the other 9,999 clocked up a combined 100 million km – enough for 13 trips to the moon and back.

A DHL spokesperson said: “At Deutsche Post DHL we’re working towards Mission 2050 and as part of that have committed to operating 70% of our own first and last mile services with clean pick-up and delivery solutions such as electric vehicles.

“To support this, we’re working with our customers and vehicle manufacturers to increase the use of electric and hybrid trucks for both long and short-haul journeys within our operations.

“In particular, we are focussed on working in collaboration with manufacturers to produce bigger electric vehicle solutions where the technology is more challenging.”

“Running vehicles that have been created with the specific requirements of a business in mind can bring significant operational benefits. So, as companies sharpen their focus on environmental commitments, it’s likely we’ll see more examples of businesses working closely with manufacturers to create bespoke vehicles that fit their needs.”