Amazon reveals development of electric delivery vehicles

Amazon’s first electric delivery vans are expected to be on the road by 2021

Amazon has released further details on its order of 100,000 electric delivery vehicles.

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On Tuesday, in a company blog post, the e-commerce giant gave a “behind the scenes” look at the development process for its delivery vehicles made by Rivian.

Back in September, Amazon announced that it had ordered 100,000 electric delivery vehicles from Plymouth, Michigan-based Rivian.

Rivian CEO R. J. Scaringe in front of a finished clay model of Amazon's new electric delivery vehicles, which are expected to hit the streets in 2021. (Amazon/Jordan Stead)

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At the time, Amazon said it expected to have the first wave of vehicles delivering packages by 2021, with 10,000 vehicles on the road by 2022 and all 100,000 vehicles on the road by 2030.

Amazon confirmed that commitment Tuesday.

"We're trying to build the most sustainable transportation fleet in the world," Ross Rachey, director of Amazon's global fleet and products, said in a video. "It also needs to be the most functional, the highest performing, the safest."

Rivian is developing a custom electric vehicle specifically for Amazon. Developers worked with current Amazon drivers to design the new delivery vans for safety, driver experience and functionality of the vehicles, the blog post said.

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"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," R.J. Scaringe, CEO of Rivian, said in a statement. "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."

Developers work on a full-size clay model of Amazon's new electric vehicle. (Amazon/Jordan Stead)

The vehicles are also designed to reduce carbon emissions as part of Amazon’s commitment to The Climate Pledge -- a promise for signatories to meet the Paris Agreement 10 years early.

Amazon signed The Climate Pledge in September.

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According to the blog post, Amazon’s new delivery vans will have “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.”

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The vans will also have integrated technology inside that will include Amazon’s logistics management, routing systems for delivery and Amazon Alexa, which “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,” the post said.

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