Amazon’s electric delivery vehicles are now making deliveries in Los Angeles, the retailer said in a statement. Amazon plans to expand the vehicles to as many as 15 additional cities in 2021.
In October, Amazon showed off the first of its planned custom electric delivery vehicles, with plans to have 10,000 on the road by 2022, and 100,000 by 2030. The company first announced in February 2020 that it ordered the custom delivery vehicles from electric vehicle maker Rivian. The electric vehicles will help Amazon reach its goal of being carbon neutral by 2040 for The Climate Pledge, and help Amazon continue to grow its logistics business.
Amazon reportedly delivers 2.5 billion packages per year, and it’s becoming one of the largest package deliverers in the US. In 2019, it went from delivering about 20% of its own packages to delivering half.
In the February announcement, the company showed off the design for the electric vehicles, which Amazon says were designed with input from current delivery drivers and has improved various creature comforts.
See the photos here.
According to Amazon, the team spent 18 months considering available electric vehicle options before deciding to make its own.
The vehicles are made at Rivian’s plant in Normal, Illinois.
Designers created digital renderings of the vehicles.
They also worked on models in the clay studio at Rivian headquarters in Plymouth, Michigan.
Clay models are a relatively inexpensive way to show what the new vans will look like before production begins.
Styrofoam acts as the base for the model.
The model vans are a combination of lightweight styrofoam and a packed layer of clay.
Then, sculptors perfect the models by smoothing the edges…
…giving the models realistic details.
The vehicles will eventually come in three sizes.
This photo shows scale models of the three vans, which will also each support multiple battery sizes.
Amazon says that this will allow each vehicle to be optimised for its specific route.
The vans will also have some important safety features.
They will be equipped with “automated emergency braking, front-wheel, and all-wheel drive options, lane keep assist…
…a pedestrian warning system, traffic design recognition, and an automatic warning system that detects and alerts distracted driver behaviour.”
The vehicles will also be integrated into Amazon’s logistics management system.
They will be integrated with routing and package delivery system used by Amazon, too.
The company says that this means drivers will be able to focus on driving…
…because there will no longer be a need for other devices with mapping information or delivery instructions.
With Alexa built into the vehicles, drivers will be able to use voice commands to get help while driving or moving packages in the cargo bay.
Amazon says it consulted current delivery drivers on aspects of the design, “from how the seat feels to the ease of getting in and out of the vehicles, package loading and unloading, and visibility.”
Amazon also says that it created a virtual reality setup where drivers can experience what the new vans will be like.
Amazon said that the new vans would be carrying deliveries to customers by 2021, and they actually debuted in Los Angeles even earlier.
Amazon’s plan is to have 10,000 Amazon electric vehicles on the road by 2022, and 100,000 by 2030.
Amazon showed off the first of the fleet of delivery vehicles in October, which use the company’s AI software, Alexa, to show traffic and weather information.
The vehicles also have what Amazon calls a “dancefloor” of open space inside the cabin for drivers.
Amazon and Rivian said that they tested the vehicles on the road for four months before sending out deliveries.
Amazon is installing thousands of charging stations across the US and Europe in preparation for a larger rollout.
“We’re loving the enthusiasm from customers so far — from the photos we see online to the car fans who stop our drivers for a first-hand look at the vehicle,” Amazon’s head of fleet Ross Rachey said.