Amazon Testing Rivian Electric Delivery Vans in San Francisco

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【Summary】Rivian and Amazon have expanded testing of the automaker’s electric delivery vans from Los Angeles to San Francisco, marking the second of 16 total cities the EVs will be tested in.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Jun 22, 2021 4:30 PM PT
Amazon Testing Rivian Electric Delivery Vans in San Francisco

It's no secret that Amazon and Rivian have been working on coming out with an electric delivery van. The two companies have been working closely to develop an electric van for the giant technology company to use as a way for it to become more eco-friendly. Earlier this year, Amazon announced that the electric delivery vans were being tested in Los Angeles. After a short stint in Los Angeles, Rivian's electric vans moved on to San Francisco in March.

Expanding Testing

The latest expansion to San Francisco is part of Amazon and Rivian's initial program to test the electric vans. San Francisco becomes the second city to act as a testing site for Rivian's new electric delivery vans. Amazon plans to expand the program to 14 other cities this year, bringing the total to 16.

According to Amazon, San Francisco was one of the initial cities to test Rivian's electric vans because of its "great customers, unique terrain and climate." Initially, deliveries will be made out of Amazon's delivery station in the suburb of Richmond. The tech company expects deliveries to start from other sites within the city shortly. With numerous steep hills, San Francisco promises to be a tricky location for Rivian's electric vans.

"From what we've seen, this is one of the fastest modern commercial electrification programs, and we're incredibly proud of that," said Ross Rachey, Amazon global fleet and products director. "As we continue to grow and invest in California, we want to do so responsibly, so we're excited for customers in the Bay Area to see these vehicles cruising through their neighborhood."

Why The Vans Are Important

The vans that are being tested are hand-built preproduction models that have an estimated range of 150 miles on a single charge. In addition to helping Amazon go green, the electric vans would save the tech company hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars per year. Fuel costs and maintenance add up to be quite a lot for companies with large fleets of commercial vehicles. While charging may be a potential issue, Amazon has added thousands of chargers and is reportedly redesigning its delivery stations to better accommodate the EVs.

If the tests go well, Rivian will provide Amazon as many as 10,000 electric vans to use for service next year. In 2019, Amazon agreed to purchase 100,000 electric vehicles from Rivian as a way to get its fleet of vehicles to run on electricity. Since then, the tech company has been keeping to its word, delivering roughly 20 million packages using EVs across Europe and North America.

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, DHL claims that 20 percent of its fleet is already made up by zero-emission vehicles, and FedEx aims to have electric vehicles make up 100 percent of its fleet by 2040.

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