Amazon already testing Rivian’s eLCV
In 2019, Amazon placed an order for 100,000 electric delivery vans with Rivian – the largest eLCV order ever. The first prototypes are now on the road, with production starting by year’s end. Meanwhile, boosted by the backing of the e-commerce giant, Rivian is taking on the EV industry’s goliath: Tesla.
Founded in 2009, Rivian is headquartered near Detroit, with plants in California and Illinois, and an engineering facility in the UK. Its focus is EVs with an autonomous capacity, with the ambition to eventually capture the ride-sharing and driverless vehicle markets.
But the company is not waiting around for autonomous technology to catch up with its ambition. In 2017, it launched its first two models: an electric pick-up and an electric SUV, and later announced its first eLCV. In 2019, Rivian received a total of $1.5 billion in investments from Ford, Cox Automotive and Amazon. The company has since raised a total of $8 billion in funding.
The design for Rivian’s eLCV, which was unveiled last autumn, is box-chic – which seems to be a trend in eLCV exteriors (see the case study about Arrival). The zero-emission vans also feature upgraded safety features, such as ADAS and exterior cameras, offering a 360° view of the van’s surroundings. Each van has a range of 150 miles (242 km) per charge.
Scouting in Europe
Like Tesla’s Superchargers, Rivian’s Adventure Network of charging stations aims to offer a mix of fast and slow public chargers, as well as home charging solutions. The plan is for 3,500 fast chargers to be placed at locations with high-density traffic, with an additional 10,000 standard chargers called Waypoints – open to all EV drivers – available at various popular destinations and such as retail, lodging and dining establishments.
All of this is a purely American story – for now. Recent reports say Rivian is scouting for a factory to build the Amazon eLCV in Europe. Germany, Hungary and the UK are all named as potential locations, but nothing official has yet been announced. Watch this space!