Amazon has ordered 100,000 electric trucks from startup Rivian, the e-commerce giant announced Thursday. The order is part of Amazon’s larger pledge—also announced today—to reach zero net carbon emissions by 2040. Amazon aims to use 80% renewable energy by 2024 and 100% by 2030.
Rivian is an electric-vehicle startup that is initially focusing on trucks and SUVs.
Amazon led a $700 million funding round for the company earlier this year.
“The first electric delivery vans will go on the road in 2021,” said Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos at an event in Washington DC. “The 100,000 will be completely deployed by 2024, let’s say.”
Amazon’s press release on the initiative offers a different timeline, saying the company is aiming to have 10,000 vehicles on the road by 2022 and all 100,000 vehicles on the road by 2030—six years later than the date Bezos gave. We’ve asked Amazon to explain this discrepancy and will update if we hear back.
Rivian unveiled its first two products late last year: a pickup truck called the R1T and an SUV called the R1S, both of which are slated to have a range as far as 400 miles. The pickup is expected to start at $69,000 (for a shorter-range model) while the SUV will cost $72,500 and up. Ars Technica declared the R1T the best truck at this year’s New York International Auto Show and named Rivian the star of the show.
Amazon’s 100,000-vehicle order is apparently for a custom design more suited for carrying packages. Press photos show a bulky delivery van with a big “Prime” logo on the side.
Partnerships are an important part of Rivian’s business strategy. On top of the Amazon-led $700 million investment round in February, Rivian raised another $500 million from Ford in April. That deal envisions Ford using Rivian’s platform to build a future electric truck.
Last week, Rivian raised a further $350 million from Cox Automotive, a conglomerate that owns “nearly 30 automotive brands, including Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book, Pivet, RideKleen, and Manheim,” according to Rivian’s press release. The two companies vowed to “explore partnership opportunities in service operations, logistics, and digital retailing.”
Rivian is likely to need all of this cash and more to become a major automaker. Manufacturing cars costs billions of dollars, as electric-car leader Tesla has learned over the last 15 years. Tesla already has an SUV—the Model X—and is hard at work on a second SUV, a pickup truck, and a semi truck.