Amazon has unveiled a working prototype of their new electric delivery vans. The van will have Alexa integration, delivery optimization software, and safety features including a bulkhead door and multiple cameras for a 360-degree view. The electric vans, built by Rivian, will start deliveries in 2021. Amazon says that there will be 100,000 added to its global fleet by 2030.
Lots of Bells and Whistles
The prototype van is one of three models that will be built by Rivian for Amazon. The vans uses information that Amazon sourced from working with drivers. That data will be used to see how the vehicle could make their jobs easier. Amazon will adjust the workspace based on the feedback, making it easier to get in and out of the vehicle.
In addition to the expected built-in delivery optimization system and Alexa voice controls, Amazon and Rivian have added extra safety features. There’s driver-assistance technology for highway driving, exterior cameras to give the driver a 360-degree view of the exterior of the van, a strengthened driver’s door in case of a collision, a large brake-light array that starts at the midway point of the rear pillar and reaches all the way to the other side of the van over the top of the rear door, and a bulkhead door that slides up and down instead of out.
Additionally, Amazon has added something called a “dance floor” inside the electric van’s cabin. That really just means there’s more room to move around inside. The van has an expected range of 150 miles.
The Drive to Net-Zero
The Amazon vans, like other Rivian vehicles, will be built on the company’s “skateboard” platform. The automaker has its own 2021 R1T electric pick-up and 2021 R1S electric SUV in the pipeline. Rivian have partnered with Amazon and Ford on other projects.
The Rivian vans are part of Amazon’s pledge to be net-zero carbon by 2040. Considering how many vehicles the online retailer already has on the road delivering packages, replacing those polluters with EVs would be a big step in the right direction.