After buying 100,000 electric delivery vehicles from Rivian, Amazon has started testing them on delivery routes in Los Angeles. The aim is to confirm the performance, safety and durability of the vans before they start to roll out to as many as 16 cities in 2021.
Amazon partnered with Rivian on the vehicles, using its customizable "skateboard" frame construction to create a “first-of-its-kind all-electric delivery vehicle,” according to Amazon. "From what we've seen, this is one of the fastest modern commercial electrification programs, and we're incredibly proud of that,” said Amazon global fleet and product director Ross Rachey.
The electric van (which needs a name tbh) has a clean, cutesy design thanks to the smooth angles and round, low-mounted headlights. The model currently in testing has a 150 mile range, though Amazon and Rivian will build different powertrain and battery configurations for regions depending on factors like terrain and weather. The vehicle packs 360-degree cameras for safety, a huge light bar for improved visibility and a vehicle guidance system with, yes, Alexa voice control.
Rivian and Amazon are still refining the vehicles before they go into full production by the end of 2021, but Amazon has already installed “thousands” of charging stations at its delivery hubs in North America and Europe. It plans to have 10,000 of the vehicles on the roads by 2022 before eventually operating the entire 100,000-strong fleet. On top of being a customer, Amazon is one of Rivian’s owners, having led a $700 million investment round in early 2019.