Amazon rolled out the first vehicles of its planned 100,000 all-electric delivery fleet this week, marking another milestone in its pledge to become net carbon zero by 2040.
The new vehicles were ordered by the eCommerce giant as part of its Climate Pledge and were seen making deliveries around Los Angeles this week. Amazon plans to introduce the customized vans in 15 other cities before the end of the year, the company said Wednesday (Feb.3).
The all-electric vans, which can drive up to 150 miles on a single charge, are the product of a partnership between Amazon and electric vehicle (EV) developer Rivian. The companies have been testing the vehicles in various geographies and climates as they prepare for wider production at the end of the year. The vehicles currently in operation were built in Rivian’s studio in Plymouth, Michigan.
Amazon said it has started to prepare for the electric fleet’s introduction by installing thousands of charging stations at its delivery facilities across Europe and North America.
Amazon in 2019 co-founded The Climate Pledge, which calls for signatories to make their companies net zero carbon by 2040, 10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement deadline. Transforming its transportation fleet is a key component to reaching that goal, with the company delivering more than 20 million packages in 2020 using electric vehicles.
“Rivian’s purpose is to deliver products that the world didn’t already have, to redefine expectations through the application of technology and innovation,” said Rivian CEO and Founder RJ Scaringe. “This milestone is one example of how Rivian and Amazon are working toward the world of 2040, and we hope it inspires other companies to fundamentally change the way that they operate.”
Last month, Rivian closed on a $2.65 billion funding round led by funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price and joined by Fidelity Management and Research, Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund, Coatue and D1 Capital Partners.
Backed by Amazon and Ford, the EV technology developer is ramping up to produce its two of its first vehicles, the R1T pickup and R1S SUV, at its plant in Normal, Illinois. First deliveries of the vehicles are expected this summer.
“This is a critical year for us as we are launching the R1T, the R1S and the Amazon commercial delivery vehicles. The support and confidence of our investors enables us to remain focused on these launches while simultaneously scaling our business for our next stage of growth,” Scaringe said in a Jan. 19 press release.
Meanwhile, electric vehicles are gaining popularity in the ridesharing arena as well.