Amazon Driver Reports 40% Faster Battery Drain When Using Climate Controls in Rivian's Electric Delivery Van, The Information Reports

Amazon Driver Reports 40% Faster Battery Drain When Using Climate Controls in Rivian's Electric Delivery Van, The Information Reports

Author: FutureCar Staff    

One of the largest orders ever for electric vehicles went to Amazon-backed Rivian. The e-commerce company ordered 100,000 electric delivery vans from Rivian that are purposefully built to Amazon's specifications to handle the rigors of commercial use as part of its fleet.

However, a driver testing the Rivian van for Amazon experienced significantly lower range than expected when using the van's climate controls, The Information reported on Friday. The Amazon driver told The Information that the battery drained about 40% faster when the van's heating or cooling system was turned on.

As part of the testing and development process for the vans, Amazon worked closely with Rivian to conduct additional testing of the vehicle's performance in various climates and regions, while engineers continued to refine the vehicles in preparation for series production.

Rivian previously said the vans supplied to Amazon would have a range of between 120 miles and 150 miles depending on their size. But that range is much lower depending on the weather, the report said.

According to the Information, Ross Rachey, Amazon's director of Global Fleets and Products, said the use of the air conditioner and heater could drain the battery in the vehicles being tested.

The vans being tested are pre production models. 

However, Rachey pointed out that these vans did not have the insulation that the final vehicles manufactured by Rivian will have, which might help keep the cabin at a more comfortable temperature in hot and cold weather.

The suite of electronic equipment installed in the vans can also increase the load on the battery pack. Among the enhanced safety features are a suite of state-of-the-art sensors, highway and traffic assist technology, as well as extra large brake lights that surround the rear of the vehicle.

The prototype that's being tested by Amazon van has 12 cameras inside and outside the van, but Amazon plans to add another four once the vehicles hit the road, the report said, citing Rachey. The vans also run Amazon's proprietary mapping and logistics management system to assist drivers making deliveries. 

Additional features include exterior cameras that are linked to a digital display inside the cabin, giving the driver a 360-degree view outside the vehicle.

Earlier this year, Amazon started testing Rivians vans in San Francisco and Los Angeles. San Francisco was the second city to act as a testing site for the electric delivery vans, but Amazon planned to expand the program to 14 other cities this year. It's not clear if that will still happen by the end of the year.

Rivian and Amazon aren't the only companies that are looking into using electric vans to deliver packages. UPS has placed an order for 10,000 electric vehicles from EV startup Arrival, while FedEx aims to have electric vehicles make up 100% of its fleet by 2040.

The electric vans were built quickly for Amazon. Rivian said that the vans went from initial sketching, design to road testing with customer deliveries in just over a year.

FutureCar Staff
FutureCar Staff
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