Amazon bulks up its delivery network with huge electric vehicle order

Amazon placed an order for 100,000 electric delivery vehicles, Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide operations, announced on Twitter today. The vans, from Rivian Automotive, are expected to begin delivering packages in 2021.

The move is not altogether surprising, as Amazon earlier this year led a $700 million equity investment in Rivian Automotive, which makes electric pickups and SUVs. Given Amazon’s views of integrators like FedEx and UPS as competitors, as revealed in its February 10-K filing, the e-commerce giant will need to grow its logistics footprint considerably to compete with the expansive networks of FedEx and UPS. Considering that FedEx also severed its airfreight and ground ties with Amazon this year, the e-tailer likely also needs the additional last-mile capacity in support of its growing airfreight network.

According to a press release today, Amazon will have 10,000 of the vehicles operating by as early as 2022, with all 100,000 operating by 2030.

That Amazon is opting for electric delivery vehicles also signals the company’s new focus on sustainable logistics. Amazon announced The Climate Pledge today in partnership with Global Optimism, which aims to meet the Paris Agreement 10 years ahead of schedule. The pledge calls on signatory companies to reach net zero carbon emissions across their businesses by 2040. Under the pledge, Amazon set its own shipment milestone to make 50% of all Amazon shipments net zero carbon by 2030 before hitting 100% by 2040.

Aviation has faced significant public criticism as to its large environmental footprint over the past few years, particularly in Europe, where France recently announced plans to impose an eco-tax on all flights departing the country from 2020. Amazon is the latest company to focus on lessening its environmental impact, but other logistics providers have also highlighted plans to reduce their carbon footprints. Perhaps most notably, Deutsche Post DHL Group aims to reduce its emissions to zero by 2050, and by 2016 had already reduced its carbon footprint by 30% from 2007 levels.

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