October 9th, 2020 by Steve Hanley
Amazon has revealed the first of three customized electric delivery vehicles to be built by Rivian. The company says it expects to have 10,000 of them in service by 2022 and a total of 100,000 plying the highways and byways of North America by 2030. It’s all part of Amazon’s Climate Pledge, which commits the company to being carbon neutral by 2040.
According to an Amazon blog post, the new van is an innovative design that involves far more than just a battery and an electric motor. Here’s a list of features it claims it couldn’t get from any traditional delivery van manufacturer:
- State-of-the-art sensor detection, a suite of highway and traffic assist technology, and a large windshield to enhance driver visibility.
- Exterior cameras around the vehicle that are linked to a digital display inside the cabin, giving the driver a 360-degree view outside the vehicle.
- Alexa integration for hands-free access to route information and the latest weather updates.
- A strengthened door on the driver’s side for additional protection.
- A “dancefloor” inside the driver’s cabin for easy movement inside the van.
- Bright tail lights surrounding the rear of the vehicle to easily detect braking.
- Three levels of shelving with a bulkhead door, which can easily be opened and closed for additional driver protection while on the road.
“When we set out to create our first customized electric delivery vehicle with Rivian, we knew that it needed to far surpass any other delivery vehicle. We wanted drivers to love using it and customers to feel excited when they saw it driving through their neighborhood and pulling up to their home,” says Ross Rachey, director of Amazon’s global fleet and products. “We combined Rivian’s technology with our delivery logistics knowledge, and the result is what you see here — the future of last mile delivery. We are working to advance and implement the technology that will support these vans — ranging from the physical charging infrastructure to enhancements and optimization of our delivery stations.”
“The vehicle we’ve developed with Amazon is not just electric. We prioritized safety and functionality to create a vehicle that’s optimized for package delivery,” adds RJ Scaringe, CEO of Rivian. “We thought through how drivers get in and out of the van, what the work space feels like and what the work flow is for delivering packages.” Apparently none of those other manufacturers had the vision to imagine such things.
According to the company, drivers will be so excited about the new electric vans, they will use the “dance floor” in their vehicles to do the tarantella while they make their deliveries. Specs about batteries, range, charging speeds and so forth will have to wait for another day. The traditional delivery van is dead. Long live the new delivery van as imagined by Amazon and Rivian, neither of which has ever built an actual motor vehicle before.
The Amazon Climate Pledge may be bold but is it bold enough? Unless the world finds a way to slash global emission by 50% no later than the end of 2030, nothing else will matter as the world spins into a full fledged climate catastrophe.
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