Amazon and electric car partner Rivian detailed their electric delivery vehicles and some design and platform options Tuesday, with the hope that a fleet of 100,000 vehicles will eventually be built, according to slash Gear, amedia outlet. Amazon announced last September that it would use custom-made electric vehicles designed by electric car start-up Rivian in future deliveries.
The plan is ambitious. The Rivian will eventually produce 100,000 specially designed all-electric vehicles for Amazon, with first deliveries expected in 2021. By 2022, the goal is to get 10,000 trucks on the road. By 2030, all 100,000 vehicles will be delivered.
Rivian and Amazon plan to build three different sizes of electric delivery trucks to suit different workloads. The battery capacity they can support will also have flexibility: the retailer says that will allow the company to optimize different vehicles for specific shipping routes. Some of these trucks will be front-wheel drive, while others will be all-wheel drive, roughly matching the weather and road conditions in the final operating area.
This is the advantage of the “flexible skateboard platform” of the Rivian electric car, which the carmaker has demonstrated as the basis for the R1T pickup and The R1S7 SUV. Rivian has not glossed over its intention to use the same platform for future vehicles, which could be very different from those of full-size trucks. In fact, the company has confirmed plans to use it for electric rally cars.
For Amazon trucks, there will be a common feature set. Automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assistance, pedestrian warnings, traffic sign identification and driver distraction monitoring are standard. The dashboard will be digital and will have a central display, both of which are linked to Amazon’s logistics management system. With a voice system for hands-free control, the driver will not be able to escape Alexa.
The full technical details of the vehicle have not been shared, but the Rivian and Amazon videos do suggest some of the factors that are at least considered. For example, the bumper is designed to make it easier to replace, and different parts can be quickly replaced in the event of damage. There is also a freight box embedded in the magnet to keep it upright. In February last year, Rivian received a $700 million investment from Amazon. Since then, Rivian has said it plans to launch its own electric car at a lower price than originally announced.