You don’t have to live in Los Angeles anymore to see Amazon’s electric vans wandering the streets. Amazon is now using the custom electric vehicles made by Rivian to deliver packages to San Francisco, the second city to take the plunge. The vans will initially run test routes from a delivery station in Richmond (north of San Francisco proper) and expand to other parts of the Bay Area over time.
The unique design is built on Rivian’s “skateboard” platform and offers a range of 150 miles in its current version, although the two companies plan for different motor and battery configurations to suit different environments. They also include 360-degree cameras to improve security and even Alexa voice control.
Amazon plans to operate electric vans in 16 cities by the end of 2021. The internet giant ordered 100,000 electric vehicles to help meet emission reduction targets, although he doesn’t expect them all to enter service before 2030 – “only” 10,000 are expected to hit the road by 2024. That’s a early, however, and it makes sense to deploy the vans in an EV – friendly area like the San Francisco Bay Area. The challenge, of course, is to provide really extensive coverage. Densely populated cities are relatively easy, but the current lineup could limit Amazon’s ability to serve rural customers.