Rivian Automotive delivered its first batch of electric delivery vans on Thursday to Amazon, an early investor that has been waiting out production delays at the EV startup but can now put the futuristic vehicles to work in major U.S. cities.
"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," Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe said in a joint statement by the companies. "That vision is now being realized."
The move is another step forward for Rivian, which has struggled to ramp up production of its electric R1T pickup, and has only recently announced the formal launch of its R1S SUV. Rivian's consumer vehicles are built on the R1 platform at its factory in Normal, Ill., and the electric delivery vans are built on a separate line.
Amazon unveiled road-ready EDVs at a last-mile delivery center in Chicago, the companies said. Amazon has been testing preproduction vehicles since last year.
"Starting today, customers across the U.S. will begin to see custom electric delivery vehicles from Rivian delivering their Amazon packages, with the electric vehicles hitting the road in Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Kansas City, Nashville, Phoenix, San Diego, Seattle and St. Louis, among other cities," the companies said.
"This rollout is just the beginning of what is expected to be thousands of Amazon's custom electric delivery vehicles in more than 100 cities by the end of this year — and 100,000 across the U.S. by 2030," the release said.
The vans for Amazon's fleet will come in different sizes, based on cargo capacity.
Rivian has said the EDV 700, with 700 cubic feet of cargo space, is rated at just more than 200 miles of range. The automaker is also making a smaller EDV 500, and plans a bigger EDV 900 — both with at least 150 miles of range.
Amazon said it has added thousands of charging stations at its delivery centers across the country and will continue the expansion to support the electrification of its delivery fleet. Amazon is also ordering electric Ram ProMaster vans from Stellantis.
Rivian said in its fourth-quarter 2021 earnings report that it had started production and deliveries of the electric delivery vans, and some test vehicles have been spotted in major cities.
"Amazon has been testing deliveries with Rivian preproduction vehicles since 2021, delivering over 430,000 packages and accumulating over 90,000 miles," the companies said. "This significant testing has allowed Rivian to continuously improve the vehicle's performance, safety and durability in various climates and geographies."