Amazon is expanding its customer deliveries via electric cargo vehicle to San Francisco, making the Bay Area the second of 16 total cities the company expects to bring its Rivian-sourced EVs to in 2021.
This event marks the latest expansion in California of Amazon’s custom electric vehicles developed in partnership with start-up Rivian Automotive, which has raised about $8 billion since 2019 from investors.
Amazon commenced the testing of the electric delivery vans in Los Angeles in early February as part of its Climate Pledge worth $2 billion. It involves the purchase of 100,000 custom electric delivery vehicles. The company first unveiled the vans last October and has said it not only has the vision to have 10,000 of the vehicles operational by next year but also expand the program to 14 more cities.
Since then, Amazon said, it has been operating thousands of electric vehicles worldwide. In 2020, it said it delivered more than 20 million packages using electric delivery vehicles across North America and Europe.
The reason for Amazon selecting California as one of its base locations for trials of electric vans from Rivian was because of its “great customers, unique terrain and climate.” Deliveries will initially be conducted out of Amazon’s delivery station in the San Francisco suburb of Richmond, but Amazon expects to start deliveries from other Bay Area sites soon.
“From what we’ve seen, this is one of the fastest modern commercial electrification programs, and we’re incredibly proud of that,” said Ross Rachey, director of Amazon’s global fleet and products in a statement. “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.”, he added.
To make the shift to electric vehicles, Amazon has redesigned its delivery stations, adding thousands of electric vehicle chargers. For now, Amazon said, the vehicles are being driven by Amazon employees who are specially trained to operate them. Moreover, Amazon is still refining the design of its electric delivery vans before the start of production, which Rivian plans for the fourth quarter of this year.