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A San Francisco treat: Amazon testing electric Rivian vans

E-commerce giant rolls out vehicles in Bay Area as part of efforts to deploy 10,000 electric vans by 2022

Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) has added a second location for testing of the Rivian all-electric delivery van, the company announced Thursday. The e-commerce giant has started delivering packages from the vans in San Francisco, joining Los Angeles as a test location for the vehicle.

“From what we’ve seen, this is one of the fastest modern commercial electrification programs, and we’re incredibly proud of that. As we continue to grow and invest in California, we want to do so responsibly, so we’re excited for customers in the Bay Area to see these vehicles cruising through their neighborhood,” said Ross Rachey, director of Amazon’s global fleet and products.

The Rivian van, officially introduced in October 2020, features a 150-mile range on a single charge; three levels of shelving with a bulkhead door that can be opened and closed for additional driver protection while on the road; and a suite of highway and traffic assist technologies.

Amazon has purchased 100,000 of the vehicles, with 10,000 expected to be on roadways by 2022 and the remainder by 2030.

To accommodate electric vehicles, Amazon is redesigning its delivery stations, the company said. In 2020, the company delivered 20 million packages in electric vehicles across North America and Europe, it said.

Amazon did not disclose how many Rivian vans are currently in operation, but noted they are being driven by Amazon employees specially trained on the vehicle.

In July 2020, Rivian closed a $2.5 billion funding round, led by T. Rowe Price Associates Inc., with participation from Fidelity Management and Research Co., Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund, Coatue and D1 Capital Partners. The company raised another $2.7 billion in January of this year, also led by T. Rowe Price Associates, that put its valuation north of $27 billion.

Read: Amazon unveils first custom electric delivery van built by Rivian

The Climate Pledge Fund was announced in September 2020. The $2 billion fund has invested in software company TurnTide, Canadian clean-tech company CarbonCure, as well as Pachama and Redwood Materials in addition to Rivian.

Amazon has been a significant backer of Rivian, which has raised $8.2 billion according to Crunchbase. Amazon had previously invested $700 million in the startup in 2019.

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Brian Straight

Brian Straight leads FreightWaves' Modern Shipper brand as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and fleetowner.com. Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler. You can reach him at bstraight@freightwaves.com.