Amazon's New Fully-Electric Vans Represent the Future of Last-Mile Delivery
Online retailer Amazon unveiled with new electric delivery vans on Thursday and the custom-built vans are a game-changer for the efficient delivery of goods.
The zero-emission fully-electric vans were built in a partnership with electric vehicle startup Rivian, a company that Amazon invested $800 million in last year to build electric its electric delivery vehicles. Rivian is building three different versions of the vans for Amazon.
The fleet of electric vans, which will eventually grow to 100,000 and will support Amazon's Climate Pledge commitment to be net zero carbon by 2040. Amazon said that 10,000 of the custom electric delivery vehicles will be on the roads as early as 2022 and all 100,000 by 2030.
Amazon said the vans were custom built to enhance the driver experience and optimize safety. Among the enhanced safety features are a suite of state-of-the-art sensors, highway and traffic assist technology, extra large brake lights, which surround the rear of the vehicle, as well as an extra large windshield for better visibility.
The Rivian van also includes exterior cameras that are linked to a digital display inside the cabin, giving the driver a 360-degree view outside the vehicle.
The van includes a digital instrument cluster and a central display screen that features Amazon's logistics management to assist drivers making deliveries. It displays routing and package delivery technology in a way that makes it easy for drivers to put more focus toward driving the vehicle. The van also includes Amazon's Alexa digital assistant integration for hands-free access to route information or weather updates.
Inside the cargo area, there are three levels of shelving with a bulkhead door, which can easily be opened and closed for additional driver protection while on the road. Additional features include a reinforced door on the driver's side for additional protection.
"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," said RJ Scaringe, Rivian CEO. "We thought through how drivers get in and out of the van, what the work space feels like and what the workflow is for delivering packages."
Amazon said it spent 18 months evaluating electric vehicles from different automakers, but eventually decided that going with a custom-built delivery van would best meet its needs.
The designers worked with Amazon drivers, who provided valuable feedback on optimizing van layout for easier loading and unloading of packages, improving visibility, and even the comfort and support of the driver's seat.
"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," said 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."
Rachey believes Amazon's new electric vans will "reset industry expectations for delivery vehicle capabilities."
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