Amazon commissioned Rivian to develop and build it the best last-mile delivery van
WHAT IT IS: This fully electric delivery van will be offered in three sizes capable of carrying 500, 700, or 900 cubic feet of packages. All share the same stand-up interior height. The smallest one is narrower than the larger two and is as roomy as today's mainstream Mercedes-Benz Sprinter or Ford Transit delivery vans. The largest one has roughly the same turning circle diameter as smaller competitive vans to guarantee easy urban maneuverability. Because its design will eventually become ubiquitous nationwide and is expected to remain unchanged for years, the Rivian Amazon Prime van's designers gave it a friendly, smiley, cartoonish visage.
WHY IT MATTERS: These vans were designed and developed exclusively for Amazon and will be built in the same plant as Rivian's R1 line of products. This will provide Rivian with reliable positive cash flow while the R1T and R1S products come up to speed, while simultaneously helping Amazon reduce its costs and shrink its carbon footprint. The contract calls for 100,000 Prime vans to be delivered by 2030. The design prioritizes driver safety, ergonomics, and comfort, providing a hinged door with side-impact protection on the driver's side and a sliding door on the passenger's side with entry steps designed in such a way as to avoid becoming dangerously slippery when wet or covered in slush. The van features driver assist handles for use while carrying packages.
PLATFORM AND POWERTRAIN: The Prime van will share its basic electrical and network architecture, ECUs, and battery pack design with the Rivian R1 models. The van will also share its basic single-motor e-axle drive unit with the entry-level Rivian R1 products. Range is said to be 150 miles. To manage costs, Prime vans use a steel body on a steel ladder chassis instead of the R1's aluminum setup. The vans will be assembled on a separate "low-feature-content" assembly line, though common body and paint shops will handle both vans and R1s.
ESTIMATED PRICE: The public will not be able to buy a Rivian Amazon Prime van, so official pricing may never be disclosed, but Jeff Bezos is no dummy. We expect the average price Amazon pays for each Prime van will land in the ballpark of a primary competitor: the Ford E-Transit. That electric cargo van starts at $52,690 for the high-roof, extended-wheelbase version.
EXPECTED ON-SALE DATE: Early production models have already entered the field, but volume production will ramp up next year with an aim of delivering the first 10,000 vans by the end of 2022.