Amazon rolls out new electric delivery vans

The vans, made by Rivian in downstate Normal, are part of Amazon’s effort to be net-zero carbon across all operations by 2040.

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New electric Amazon delivery vans by Rivian are parked outside the Amazon warehouse on the Far South Side, Thursday morning, July 21, 2022. Amazon drivers start delivering packages using electric vans Thursday in Chicago and other cities.

Amazon drivers started using electric vans Thursday in the Chicago area and a dozen other cities.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Some Amazon customers will soon start seeing their packages delivered in custom electric vans produced at Rivian’s plant in downstate Illinois.

The first wave of Amazon’s fleet of electric vans hit the streets Thursday in the Chicago area and in more than a dozen other cities, the beginning of the e-commerce giant’s plan to move entirely green by 2040.

“Fighting the effects of climate change requires constant innovation and action, and Amazon is partnering with companies who share our passion for inventing new ways to minimize our impact on the environment,” said Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon. “Rivian has been an excellent partner in that mission, and we’re excited to see our first custom electric delivery vehicles on the road.”

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Rivian is producing the electric delivery vehicles in Normal in the former Mitsubishi Motors factory. Amazon expects to have thousands of electric delivery vans on the road in more than 100 cities by the end of the year and about 100,000 e-vans in use nationwide by 2030.

The delivery vans were designed to have 360-degree visibility and with other features that protect drivers and pedestrians, like sensor detection, highway and traffic assist technology, and collision warnings.

The partnership between Amazon and Rivian was announced in 2019 when the e-commerce company pledged to reach net-zero carbon across all operations by 2040.

The interior of Amazon’s electric delivery van made by Rivian in downstate Normal.

The interior of Amazon’s electric delivery van made by Rivian in downstate Normal.

Amazon

Amazon estimates having 100,000 electric delivery vehicles on the road by 2030 will save millions of metric tons of carbon per year.

“Today represents an important step, not just for Amazon and Rivian as partners, but also for transportation and the environment,” said R.J. Scaringe, CEO of Rivian. “In 2019, Rivian and Amazon committed to fast-tracking a new type of delivery vehicle that would result in a significant reduction of carbon emissions.”

Scaringe said this partnership will make the “world a better place for our kids’ kids” and the companies’ vision for net-zero carbon is being realized.

“To say this is an exciting moment is an understatement — we’re thrilled to see this partnership has kickstarted decarbonization projects across the logistics delivery industry,” Scaringe said.

Scaringe was joined by Udit Madan, vice president of transportation for Amazon, and Sylvia Garcia, director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, to celebrate the unveiling of the fleet at the Amazon DLN4 fulfillment center at 10500 S. Woodlawn Ave.

Garcia said the move to turn Amazon’s fleet green represents “a big step forward for Illinois, which has an ambitious goal of putting 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2030.”

“We are in the midst of a clean energy revolution,” Garcia said. “For decades, the flawed idea that going green stifled the economy dominated. This flawed idea dominated economic and business decisions to our country and our world’s detriment.”

“We are showing today that businesses and our great state have rejected that flawed notion and economic growth and protecting the environment are not mutually exclusive,” Garcia said. “We’re investing in a clean energy future that is great for business and is also great for the environment.”

Amazon has been testing deliveries with Rivian preproduction vehicles since 2021 and has delivered more than 430,000 packages and driven over 90,000 miles in the electric delivery trucks.

The electric vehicles will be supported by charging stations at Amazon delivery centers across the country.

An Amazon worker drives a new electric Amazon delivery van by Rivian around the Amazon warehouse on the Far South Side, Thursday morning, July 21, 2022. Amazon drivers start delivering packages using electric vans Thursday in Chicago and other cities.

An Amazon worker on Thursday drives a new electric Amazon delivery van made by Rivian.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

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