Amazon taps Rivian for 'largest electric delivery vehicle order'

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Monster goods distributor aims for net zero carbon as part of climate pledge

Jeff Bezos explains the Rivian electric vehicle’s part in Amazon’s ‘pledge’


Mega-firm Amazon has kicked off its ‘The Climate Pledge’ initiative that will see it buy 100,000 Rivian electric delivery vehicles.

The company, which is under sustained environmental criticism in the northern hemisphere, spruiks it as a commitment to meet the Paris Agreement 10 years early and says "the largest order ever of electric delivery vehicles" will see vans starting to deliver packages to customers in 2021.

Amazon plans to have 10,000 of the new electric vehicles on the road as early as 2022 and all 100,000 vehicles on the road by 2030, with a view to "saving 4 million metric tons of carbon per year by 2030".

"Amazon is the first signatory of this pledge," it says.

"The Climate Pledge calls on signatories to be net zero carbon across their businesses by 2040 – a decade ahead of the Paris Agreement's goal of 2050."

Part of that is the Shipment Zero delivery initiative of "net zero carbon" fulfilment.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is candid about the environmental challenges his company faces, given its facilities’ huge physical presence and use of airfreight, but casts that as one to be surmounted by the world’s largest enterprises.

"If a company with as much physical infrastructure as Amazon – which delivers more than 10 billion items a year – can meet the Paris Agreement 10 years early, then any company can.

"I’ve been talking with other CEOs of global companies, and I’m finding a lot of interest in joining the pledge. 

"As this economy develops, and people get serious about being carbon zero through real changes to their real business activities it will be a gigantic signal to the marketplace to start inventing, new technologies that global companies will need to be able to meet this commitment," Bezos says.

"Amazon is large but if we get lots of large companies to agree to the same thing, that will be an even stronger signal to the market.

"That, together with the fact that the supply chains are so interconnected it becomes the only way to do it. And that’s with collaboration."

This move reinforces the February Amazon-led US$700 million investment round  in the enterprise that also gained a US$500 million investment from Ford in March.

Comment has been sought from Amazon Australia on the prospects of Rivian delivery vans arriving for local operations.

For Rivian, the good news keeps coming, having gained US$350 million (A$517 million) quity investment from global automotive services company Cox Automotive, mostly with an eye to electric SUVs. .

"We are excited by Rivian’s unique approach to building an electrified future and to be part of the positive impact its products will bring to our roads and the world around us," Cox president Sandy Schwartz says.

"This investment complements Cox Automotive’s own commitment to environmental change through our Cox Conserves efforts."


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