Michigan EV startup Rivian is making some serious waves in the automotive and EV industries. After funding from Ford ($500 million) and Amazon (undisclosed millions and Cox Automotive ($350 million), Amazon just announced they placed a rather sizable order for 100,000 specially developed electric delivery vans from Rivian. The company is now valued at about $3.5 billion, and they haven't made a single production vehicle yet. They certainly have a lot to deliver on, but this is a great way to start.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos wants to help mitigate climate change, so part of that plan includes putting 100,000 purely electric delivery trucks in his fleet by 2024 (no word on how much greenhouse gases his company puts into the atmosphere now simply based on the sheer number of deliveries added to the mix because of Amazon). The first wave of Rivian/Amazon trucks will start delivering your bulk toilet paper, etc. in 2021, and there may even be prototypes in 2020.
The Rivian brand is considered a Tesla Rival, and the two are going head-to-head to deliver their versions of an electric pickup truck. Though we've only seen speculative renderings of Tesla's version, Rivian has already shown off prototypes of both its R1T pickup and R1S SUV, and they look both original and very well designed. Though nothing apart from the prototypes has been seen, we do know that they're tooling up their factory in Normal, Illinois and hiring staff for their Irvine and Detroit offices.
The Amazon delivery truck might look awkward (the tweeted photo at the top of the article is a rendering), but it's clearly designed to tackle a lot of delivery boxes while remaining fairly aerodynamic. There are no real details about the vehicle, but range should be impressive for such a big vehicle since Rivian has claimed 400 miles on a single charge for the R1T and R1S. We're guessing the delivery vehicle won't get nearly as much when fully-laden, but we think Bezos will make sure efficiency is there in the finished product.
If Rivian is successful in building them, the move to EV commercial vehicles will be huge. Right now, FedEX, UPS, and the U.S. Postal Service are all using EVs for delivery in limited areas, but Bezos is creating the largest fleet, by far, and showing the rest of 'em how to do it.