Amazon's First-Ever Electric-Powered Delivery Fleet Set for 2021 Launch

Amazon is developing 100,000 electric-powered delivery vehicles in Detroit, due to hit the road by 2021.
Brad Bergan

Amazon is pushing 100,000 electric-powered delivery vans, due to hit the road in 2021. Production of emissions-free electric vehicles is underway in Plymouth, near Detroit.


Amazon ups the ante in the electric vehicles space

Part of The Climate Pledge, this massive order is Amazon's push to meet conditions stipulated by the Paris Agreement 10 years early. The pledge obliges signatories to become net-zero carbon across their entire businesses by the year 2040, 10 years ahead of the 2050 goal of the Paris Accord.

"We're trying to build the most sustainable transportation fleet in the world," said Ross Rachey, the director of Amazon's fleet and products. "It also needs to be the most functional, the highest performing, the safest."

For 18 months, Amazon's transportation team meticulously assessed a variety of electric vehicle options for the lowest carbon footprint. But since Rachey's team had to move at lightspeed to meet their deadline, they dispatched conventional options in favor of a totally new and customized electric vehicle.

You could say their designs beyond convention are the state of the industry.

Next-gen delivery and zero emissions

If successful, this next-gen delivery van will reduce carbon emissions, improve driver safety, and bring technology and other design elements up to par for best-in-class driving experience. Constructed in Rivian's plant in Normal, Illinois, the vans come in three sizes, and work with multiple battery types, to suit the disparate demands of specific delivery routes.

"We are focused on driving efficiency into every aspect of the vehicle design — everything from cabin heating to driver ergonomics to drivetrain design has been optimized for time and energy," said R.J. Scaringe, CEO of Rivian. "And then the echo effect of this, of causing other logistics players in this space to also look at how they drive up efficiency within their fleet, will have a very large impact."

As a world community, we're only on the cusp of the biggest industrial revolution ever — rivaled only by the last, in the 1900s. But the unique synergy of ambition, innovation, and global awareness could make the next few decades the most exciting time to be alive.

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