Electric vehicles: Are Amazon’s delivery vans electric?

Rivian’s custom electric delivery van is equipped with state-of-the-art safety sensors, automatic emergency braking, 350-degree visibility and seamless navigation that guides an Amazon driver to the next address while displaying customer information on its large touch screen.

The automaker has promised to deliver 100,000 of these electric vehicles to Amazon by the end of the decade, the virtual commerce company said in a statement. Press release.

Check out the latest delivery vans from Amazon

These deep blue vehicles, equipped with “lightweight, durable and low-cost” batteries, will soon hit the road across the United States in cities like Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Kansas City, Nashville, Phoenix, San Diego , Seattle and St. Louis. The partnership between the companies began in 2019, when Rivian became the first to join Amazon’s climate pledge to reach net zero by 2040.

A look at Rivian’s new electric delivery vans for Amazon.

“Addressing the effects of climate change requires constant innovation and action, and Amazon partners with companies that share our passion to invent new ways to minimize our impact on the environment,” said Andy Jassy, ​​CEO of Amazon.

“Rivian has been a great partner on this mission, and we are thrilled to see our first custom electric delivery vehicles on the road,” he said, adding that the vehicles are “among the safest delivery vehicles and the most comfortable on the road today”. .”

Rivian faces production hurdles

Although the initiative sounds good, the rollout has encountered many challenges. To start, Rivian originally planned to produce the fleet of 100,000 vehicles by 2024not 2030.

After a version of the van debuted in the fall of 2020, tests reported worrying results – drivers claimed the batteries drained far too quickly when the heating or cooling was on, threatening the vehicle’s 150-mile range, and it took about an hour to recharge, according to a report by Information.

Rivian’s quarterly results, released in March, were also disappointed by missed revenue projections and reduced vehicle production – the company was expected to produce 50,000 electric vehicles in 2022, including vans for Amazon, and the number was later reduced to 25,000, CNBC reported at the time.

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A front view of the electric delivery truck.

The lower number can be attributed to supply chain issues automakers have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. Automakers have experienced shortages of chips and wire harnesses, according to Motobiscuit.

Does the math add up?

When you combine the existing 90,000 bookings reported for Rivian’s R1-series pickup trucks with Amazon’s huge vehicle order, it looks like the EV producer will have an extensive backlog.

In June, Rivian Founder and CEO Robert Joseph “RJ” Scaringe tweeted, “The supply chain and production are skyrocketing! He added that production is “on track” to meet the year’s goal.

But earlier this month, the automaker told employees it was plans to lay off 5% of its workforce as it prioritizes vehicle manufacturing while strengthening charging infrastructure, optimizing costs and improving its existing models. However, the layoffs have not yet taken place.

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The electric van storage compartment for Amazon parcels.

“Rivian’s production issues are symptomatic of the difficulties young EV makers face as they attempt to challenge traditional automakers,” business journalist Jack Ewing and technology correspondent Karen Weise wrote for The New York Times. “Many are discovering how difficult and expensive it is to mass-produce vehicles, and time is not on their side as established companies are also rapidly moving towards electrification.”

For reference, Rivian’s competitor You’re here has delivered 184,800 electric vehicles and produced 180,338 cars in 2022, amid similar production delays as the former faced.

The party continues

Rivian has been seen as an up-and-coming electric vehicle maker – its pickup truck has even been awarded the title of Truck of the Year by MotorTrend in 2022. Now its shares are down to $35, from its initial public offering price of $78 per share at the end of last year.

Amazon, which delivered approx. six billion packages in the United States in 2021, plans 10,000 vans from Rivian this year alone. ‘Bringing electric delivery vehicles to the road at scale and speed’ is no ‘small feat’, as Amazon spokeswoman Natalie Banke pointed out in an email. . But so far, Rivian has only delivered a few hundred. It may take some time for the automaker to fill the big order of electric vans.

Although Amazon is “proud” and “delighted” to partner with Rivian, as Banke said, it is expanding its reach – the company has announced it will buy thousands of electric vans from Ram as it installs charging stations at delivery depots across the United States.

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