The electric vans that California-based EV manufacturer Rivian developed for Amazon are now being tested on public roads in Los Angeles.
Amazon placed an order for 100,000 electric vans back in late 2019, with Rivian then spending most of 2020 designing, engineering and developing the proprietary delivery vehicle. The van rides on Rivian’s flexible skateboard chassis and has a usable range of 150 miles. The estimated range may be subject to change, though, with Amazon saying it is still “working with Rivian to conduct additional testing of the vehicle’s performance, safety durability in various climates and geographies,” as engineers continue to refine the vehicles for the start of series production at the end for 2021. Rivian has not said what type of motors the electric vans have, how much power they produce or how much cargo space they have.
The Rivian electric vans were developed for Amazon specifically and neither company has expressed a desire to sell the vans to another company. This is unlike General Motors’ new BrightDrop EV600 delivery van, which is available for any fleet operator to purchase. The BrightDrop EV600 is targeted to have an estimated range of 250 miles and has over 600 feet of cargo space. FedEx has already placed an order for 500 examples of the BrightDrop EV600, while Merchants Fleet, the fastest-growing fleet management company in the U.S., announced this week that it has also ordered 12,500 examples of the electric vans.
Electric commercial vehicles like Rivian’s Amazon van and the BrightDrop EV600 will become more commonplace in the near future as governments and private companies begin converting their fleets from combustion to electric. The Biden Administration recently signed an executive order that directed federal agencies to replace their gasoline and diesel fleets with battery-powered alternatives. The executive order also said the administration would work to install 500,000 new electric vehicle charging stations nationwide to help support the rapid transition to EVs.
Check out the video embedded below to see the new Rivian-developed Amazon vans in action in LA. In addition to LA, Amazon says testing of the vans will expand to 15 other cities in 2021 before the van starts to hit the road in large numbers next year.