Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said the company has placed an order for 100,000 electric delivery vans from Michigan-based startup Rivian. The announcement came during an event on Thursday in Washington, DC where Bezos unveiled Amazon’s sweeping plan to tackle climate change.
Bezos said he expects 100,000 Rivian vans to be on the road by 2024, according to USA Today reporter Nathan Bomey. The first vans will hit the road in 2021, with prototypes possibly arriving as soon as 2020. Minutes after Bezos’ announcement, Amazon senior vice president for operations Dave Clark tweeted a rendering of the vehicle.
Rivian is a relatively new name in the electric vehicle industry, having only debuted its pickup truck and SUV at the end of November 2018. But the company has been operating in stealth since 2009. Originally founded to make something that competed with Tesla’s first car, the Lotus-based Roadster, Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe eventually pivoted the company toward a more action-adventure customer segment.
Rivian’s main push this year has been a massive fundraising effort, with the company securing enormous investments from a host of major players, Amazon included. Bezos’ company led a $700 million funding round last February, but it did not disclose the exact amount it was contributing. In April, Ford announced a $500 million investment in Rivian that the companies said would result in a new electric vehicle to be sold by the auto giant. Most recently, Rivian landed a $350 million investment from Cox Automotive, a big name in the retail and logistics space.
Rivian has shown off two vehicles so far: the R1T pickup and the R1S SUV. Built on the same technological platform, Rivian claims its vehicles — which will start at around $70,000 — will be able to travel up to around 400 miles on a single charge, hit 60 miles per hour in under three seconds, and eventually be able to drive themselves in some capacity.
Bezos’ announcement today, though, reveals a third vehicle in Rivian’s nascent lineup: a delivery van. It suggests that rather than focusing exclusively on the off-road segment, the startup will also be looking into commercial vehicles.