Amazon is looking to cash in on its investment by overhauling its local delivery fleet, which currently consists primarily of Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans. The new, unnamed Rivian vans are of course powered by an electric motor(s) and a lithium-ion battery pack, although there were absolutely no details provided with regards to specifications.
But from the looks of the single render that was tweeted out by Amazon SVP Dave Clark, it looks very much like any other delivery fan that you might see on the road like the aforementioned Sprinter or the Ford Transit. The vehicle has an extremely high roof to maximize internal space and the EV drivetrain itself should help in that regard as well. This is all speculation at this point, but we'd imagine that there is likely a single motor mounted up front (front-wheel drive) for simplicity with the battery pack mounted low in the chassis.
Prototypes of Rivian's electric vans should start hitting the road next year, and the first production vehicles will be hitting Amazon delivery routes in 2020. If all goes according to schedule, Amazon will have 100,000 Rivian vans on the road by 2024.
Amazon has a huge footprint when you take into account its warehouses, massive fleet of long-haul trucks, local delivery vehicles, and its fleet of Prime Air aircraft. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos states that the move towards EVs for making local deliveries is an effort by the company to help reduce emissions and its carbon footprint.
Rivian made waves late last year when the company announced its EV pickup and crossover featuring a "skateboard" platform that contains the drivetrain, battery, and suspension. Each has four electric motors that generate anywhere from 400 horsepower in base form to 750 horsepower in top trim. Maximum driving range is rated at a maximum 400 miles with the 180-kWh battery pack.
Given that an Amazon electric van won't need anywhere near even 400 horsepower, we'd imagine that it won't need that massive (and expensive) 180 kWh battery or multiple motors for daily deliveries which should help to keep costs down.