Following Big Cash Dump, Amazon Taps Rivian for 100,000 EVs

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
following big cash dump amazon taps rivian for 100 000 evs

Isn’t Rivian the popular thing these days? Courted by Amazon and Ford with investments of $700 million and $500 million, respectively, the Michigan-based EV startup recently gained a cash infusion from Cox Automotive.

Now, that very first investment is bearing fruit — 100,000 pieces of it, promised for a three-year delivery window.

Back in February, Amazon dumped a pile of cash on the automaker’s fledgling operation, a move that surely heralded a massive vehicle order in the near future. Seven months later, and the order is in: 100,000 electric delivery vans, due to start rolling out of Amazon distribution centers in 2021.

The vans are a big part of a pledge issued by the online shopping giant on Thursday. In co-founding “The Climate Pledge,” Amazon plans to reach the goal of the Paris climate agreement a decade early. By 2023, Amazon aims to consume only renewable energy. By 2040, it wants its entire operation to go carbon-neutral. Enter the vans.

“The $440 million investment will accelerate the production of electric vehicles critical to reducing emissions from transportation,” Amazon said in a media release. “To further advance this goal, Amazon today announced the order of 100,000 electric delivery vehicles from Rivian, the largest order ever of electric delivery vehicles, with vans starting to deliver packages to customers in 2021. Amazon plans to have 10,000 of the new electric vehicles on the road as early as 2022 and all 100,000 vehicles on the road by 2030 – saving 4 million metric tons of carbon per year by 2030.”

Of course, 100,000 electric vans ordered is not the same as 100,000 electric vans delivered; Rivian will have its hands full filling the order via production at its Normal, Illinois assembly plant. The automaker also has an EV pickup truck and midsize SUV on the way, with the first deliveries expected to reach buyers late next year. Then there’s its partnership with Ford. Together, Rivian and Ford plan to co-develop a new electric vehicle for the Blue Oval brand.

Things are clearly coming together in a hurry for Rivian. Over at Amazon, the company will need to ensure its facilities are equipped to handle the serious recharging needs of this future delivery fleet.

While the van’s specs aren’t known, we do know roughly what they’ll look like. The company’s senior vice president of operations, Dave Clark, tweeted an image of one earlier today. It’s assumed the van, like the company’s R1T pickup and R1S SUV, will ride atop a version of Rivian’s innovative “Skateboard” platform and boast varying battery sizes.

The R1S is said to be able to travel 410 miles between charges when equipped with a 180-kWh battery pack. Hub motors drive each wheel independently, though it’s unlikely a van would bother with the additional weight, cost, and capability of electric 4WD.

[Image: Amazon/Twitter, Rivian]

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  • J10dave J10dave on Sep 20, 2019

    "...100,000 pieces of it, promised for a three-year delivery window." "... all 100,000 vehicles on the road by 2030." Wouldn't that be a 10 year delivery window???

  • WildcatMatt WildcatMatt on Sep 20, 2019

    What will be interesting to see is whether this isn't the point where Amazon starts a competing parcel delivery service, with drop points at Amazon Lockers.

    • See 1 previous
    • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Sep 20, 2019

      I've already seen Amazon delivery trucks delivering parcels in our area. I am not sure do they still use Fedex and UPS.

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