Amazon unveiled Thursday the first of the electric delivery vans resulting from its partnership with Rivian Automotive.
The retail giant placed its first order last year with the Plymouth, Michigan-based electric vehicle startup for up to 100,000 delivery vans by 2030. Amazon said it expects 10,000 Rivian-designed vans to be operating by as early as 2022.
The partnership is a major step in Amazon’s goal to eliminate its greenhouse gas emissions by 2040.
Amazon released a video and blog post Thursday of one of the three models Rivian is producing for the retailer. Each van will be equipped with exterior cameras that provide a 360-degree view, Amazon’s Alexa voice-controlled software and three levels of shelves.
Amazon did not say what it would call the vans, nor did it offer details such as the vehicles range between chargings and or how much cargo it could carry.
“The vehicle we’ve developed with Amazon is not just electric. We prioritized safety and functionality to create a vehicle that’s optimized for package delivery,” said Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe. “We thought through how drivers get in and out of the van, what the work space feels like and what the work flow is for delivering packages.”
As with most new vehicles, these vans will have sensors to detect surrounding traffic, cyclists and pedestrians. There will also be a large windshield for enhanced visibility and a reinforced driver’s side door for protection.
In its press release, Amazon touts what it calls a “dance floor” in the cargo area between the shelves to make it easier for drivers to retrieve goods.
“When we set out to create our first customized electric delivery vehicle with Rivian, we knew that it needed to far surpass any other delivery vehicle,” said Ross Rachey, Amazon’s global fleet and products director, in a statement. “We wanted drivers to love using it and customers to feel excited when they saw it driving through their neighborhood.”
Rivian is manufacturing the delivery vans at a former Mitsubishi assembly plant in Normal, Illinois.
Last month, Rivian announced that Cox Automotive invested $350 million for an equity stake in the company. In April, Ford announced it is investing $500 million in Rivian.
Earlier this year an investment group led by Amazon announced a $700 million funding round for the EV startup. Of that $700 million, $440 million is coming from Amazon.