Amazon begins rollout of Rivian EVs

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by Emily Atkins

Amazon has begun putting its custom-designed Rivian electric delivery vans on the road across the United States.

Starting July 21 the vans hit the road loaded with customer parcels in Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Kansas City, Nashville, Phoenix, San Diego, Seattle, and St. Louis, among other cities.

The company says it expects thousands of the electric vans will be on the road in more than 100 cities by the end of this year, with 100,000 deployed across the U.S. by 2030.

Amazon and Rivian announced the plan to jointly develop the vans back in 2019.

Testing for a year

Amazon has been testing deliveries with Rivian pre-production vehicles since 2021, delivering over 430,000 packages and accumulating over 90,000 miles. This testing has allowed Rivian to improve the vehicle’s performance, safety and durability in various climates and geographies. Rivian has also completed certifications with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, California Air Resources Board, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Amazon expects the vehicles will contribute to its sustainability goals by reducing carbon emissions.

“Fighting the effects of climate change requires constant innovation and action, and Amazon is partnering with companies who share our passion for inventing new ways to minimize our impact on the environment. Rivian has been an excellent partner in that mission, and we’re excited to see our first custom electric delivery vehicles on the road,” said Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon.

“In addition to being sustainable, these new vehicles are also great for drivers—they were designed with driver input and feedback along the way, and they’re among the safest and most comfortable delivery vehicles on the road today.”

Made in Illinois

The vehicles are made at Rivian’s factory in Illinois. They incorporate the latest in autonomous safety features along with embedded routing and navigation technology that integrates the delivery workflow with the vehicle. They also have special capabilities to speed up the delivery process including automatic door locking/unlocking as the driver approaches or leaves the vehicle, and a powered bulkhead door that opens when drivers reach their delivery location.

The EVs are loaded with safety features.

To support the addition of EVs into its fleet, Amazon has added thousands of charging stations at its delivery stations across the U.S. Amazon has also partnered with the nonprofit CERES, and several other fleet operators to launch the Corporate Electric Vehicle Alliance, bringing together companies to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles.

“Today represents an important step, not just for Amazon and Rivian as partners, but also for transportation and the environment,” said RJ Scaringe, CEO of Rivian.

“In 2019, Rivian and Amazon committed to fast-tracking a new type of delivery vehicle that would result in a significant reduction of carbon emissions. To say this is an exciting moment is an understatement—we’re thrilled to see this partnership has kickstarted decarbonization projects across the logistics delivery industry.”