Amazon to Begin Rollout of Electric Delivery Vans Around the Country
Amazon CEO Andy Jassy recently announced the company is ready to unveil a series of new delivery vans that are completely electric. These vans are manufactured by a start-up company called Rivian, the creator of the first “all-electric” pickup truck.
While Amazon has been running some preliminary test drives on these vehicles, this year marks the first that the company will be putting them into action around the country.
Rivian: Creating Electric Alternatives
Rivian is an automaker that designs electric vehicles with vegan-friendly interiors and parts that can be recycled once they wear out. In addition to using these sustainable parts, Rivian has committed to reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2040 through their Climate Pledge.
How Do Rivian’s Vehicles Compare to Amazon’s Current Fleet?
Amazon currently uses a range of vehicles including box trucks. These large box trucks joined their fleet during the onset of the pandemic and were introduced to meet increased shipping and delivery demands.
In recent years, however, the safety and well-being of Amazon drivers has become a concern due to the increased pressure on drivers. A study by the Strategic Organizing Center found that in 2021, around one in five Amazon drivers were injured while making deliveries—2.5 times higher than other delivery drivers.
Rivian’s new trucks offer enhanced benefits not only for the environment but for drivers as well. Some of the features Amazon drivers can now utilize include:
- Collision warnings for enhanced safety
- Adaptive cruise control for ease of use
- Traffic-assistance technology to make driving easier
- Automatic emergency braking for extra security
- Cooled seating for additional comfort
- Self-opening doors to save on delivery time
- Exterior cameras for increased visibility
Three years ago, Jeff Bezos (creator and former CEO of Amazon), first struck a partnership with Rivian. Initially, Amazon hoped to utilize 100,000 of Rivian’s electric trucks by 2024, but that plan’s timeframe has stretched out an additional six years. Amazon now intends to meet the 100,000-truck goal by 2030.
In the meantime, there’s good news.
Amazon conducted a trial run of Rivian’s electric delivery vans in Los Angeles in 2021. This trial run helped the two companies pinpoint areas of improvement as the vans covered more than 90,000 miles. After this initial test run, Amazon gave the green light to introduce more of Rivian’s delivery vans across the nation.
While the vans will only be used in a limited number of cities this year, you’ll soon see them popping up in places like:
- St. Louis
- San Diego
- Kansas City
Why Go Electric Now?
Amazon’s decision to incorporate electric vans into its fleet is due in part to an initiative that was launched back in 2020, the Climate Pledge Fund. This fund started with over $2 billion and supports businesses like Rivian that are working towards a more sustainable future.
Besides Rivian, Amazon has also invested in Ion Energy (a battery-management software developer), Infinium (a renewable electrofuels solution provider), and Pachama (a climate technology company studying carbon capture).
Amazon also announced earlier this year that it plans to purchase electric vans from Stellantis and vehicles from Mercedes-Benz.
A Closer Look at the Impact of Electric Vehicles
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center notes that 70% of our country’s petroleum usage is due to the transportation sector. Electric vehicles use less (and sometimes no) fuel and help create a more diverse network of energy sources.
In 2020 alone, Amazon delivered 4.2 billion packages, making the switch to electric vehicles more important than ever. As Amazon continues to grow, its commitment to more sustainable shipping and transportation methods will hopefully follow suit.
In summary, Amazon’s switch to electric delivery vehicles is extremely significant considering that they’re one of the top delivery providers in the country and the world. If this goes well, we could eventually see a shift to electric vehicle across the board, which would reduce emissions dramatically.