Amazon offered a sneak preview of its electric delivery vans from suburban Detroit startup Rivian, touting the vehicle's adaptable features and environmental friendliness.
The van had been seen only in artist renderings, but last week, Amazon released photos showing a scale model and a full-size clay mock-up of the EV and a behind-the-scenes video shot in the Rivian design studio. The tech giant said in a company blog that its goal is to reduce its carbon emissions, "raise the bar for driver safety" and optimize design. Amazon placed the order for 100,000 delivery vans from Rivian, of Plymouth, Mich., in September.
Much of the preview focused on the vehicle's design, which includes a massive windshield.
There is also a digital instrument cluster and central display screen that are integrated with Amazon's logistics management and routing and package delivery technology.
The company said the logistics management, and integration of the Amazon Alexa voice assistant, will allow drivers to use voice in the cargo area when sorting packages without having to manually enter commands or use handheld devices.
Some of the other features touted last week included a suite of advanced safety technology. Amazon says that includes "automated emergency braking, front-wheel and all-wheel-drive options, lane-keep assist, a pedestrian warning system, traffic design recognition and an automatic warning system that detects and alerts distracted driver behavior."
The vans are expected to come in three sizes and support multiple EV battery sizes to accommodate different types of delivery routes, the company said.
The vehicles will be manufactured at Rivian's Normal, Ill., plant and are expected to begin package delivery in 2021, with at least 10,000 in use by 2022 and the entire fleet on the road by 2030.