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Closer look at Rivian’s electric delivery van for Amazon

Amazon released a closer look at its upcoming new electric delivery van built by Rivian, who is supposed to produce 100,000 of them.

Last year, Rivian took a $700 million round of funding led by Amazon, and at the time, they were discussing opportunities to work together.

A few months later, we learned that one of those opportunities is building an electric delivery van for the online retail giant.

Amazon announced that they are going to buy 100,000 electric delivery vans from Rivian.

The project is one of the biggest of its kind, and would represent one of the largest deployment of electric vehicles in the world.

It’s also an order likely worth over $4 billion for Rivian, which is massive for a startup.

At the time, we didn’t know much about Rivian’s new vehicle for Amazon.

Now the company is releasing a closer look at the development of the electric delivery van, which Amazon claims will enable them to build the world’s most sustainable fleet.

Ross Rachey, director of Amazon’s global fleet and products, said:

We’re trying to build the most sustainable transportation fleet in the world. It also needs to be the most functional, the highest performing, the safest.

They released this behind-the-scenes video of the making of the vehicle at Rivian’s Michigan facility:

RJ Scaringe, CEO of Rivian, commented on the project:

We are focused on driving efficiency into every aspect of the vehicle design — everything from cabin heating to driver ergonomics to drivetrain design has been optimized for time and energy, And then the echo effect of this, of causing other logistics players in this space to also look at how they drive up efficiency within their fleet, will have a very large impact.

They are not releasing specs for the vehicle, but they did share new photos:

And while they are not releasing specs, they did mention some details about the technology that will be used in the vehicle to help the drivers:

That includes a digital instrument cluster and central display screen integrated with Amazon’s logistics management, along with routing and package delivery technology systems to make it easier for the drivers to focus on operating the vehicle. The system removes the need for extra devices that provide address and mapping information. Integrating Amazon Alexa will make it easy for drivers to ask for help or use simple voice commands in the cargo bay when sorting packages without having to manually enter commands or consult handheld devices.

They have also clarified the timeline to bring the electric vehicle to production:

Amazon’s new electric delivery vehicles will begin delivering packages to customers in 2021. The company plans to have 10,000 of the vehicles on the road as early as 2022 and all 100,000 vehicles on the road by 2030 — saving millions of metric tons of carbon per year by 2030.

This is a particularly impressive timeline, especially when you consider that Rivian has yet to bring a vehicle to production, and its first vehicles, the R1T and R1S, are only supposed to come to market in “late 2020.”

Electrek’s Take

Rivian recently confirmed that it plans to lower the price of the R1T and R1S.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this project has something to do with it.

The company might be leveraging the massive volume from the Amazon delivery truck order to create economies of scale that would also apply to its consumer vehicles.

What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.

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