Amazon tests its Rivian electric vans in hilly San Francisco

E-commerce giant Amazon is now testing its custom-made Rivian electric vans in San Francisco. It’s now the second city where Amazon is using its Rivian vans, behind Los Angeles.

Amazon chose San Francisco as its No. 2 city because it wanted to put its e-vans to the test on the city’s steep hills and in its variable climate.

The streets of San Francisco

On February 3, Electrek reported that Amazon had officially started using the first Rivian electric vans to make customer deliveries in Los Angeles. The vans must be performing well in LA, because now, a month and a half later, Amazon’s Rivian electric vans will be delivering packages in San Francisco, too.

Amazon plans to launch its Rivian delivery vans in 16 cities in 2021. Its electric vans, built on Rivian’s skateboard platform, can last up to 150 miles on a single charge, so it will be interesting to see how they perform on the city’s steep hills. Amazon’s Rivian vans will feature different motor and battery configurations in order to accommodate different environments, according to Engadget.

The Rivian vans making deliveries in San Francisco will initially run out of a delivery station in Richmond, California, just north of the city. It’s one of many delivery stations that Amazon is reconfiguring to service its electric fleet. Amazon also recently invested $200 million in a new delivery station in the center of San Francisco.

Amazon’s custom electric vans

In February 2019,  Rivian took a $700 million round of funding led by Amazon. And in September 2019, Amazon announced that it would be purchasing 100,000 custom electric delivery vans from Rivian. As Electrek‘s editor-in-chief Fred Lambert noted, “It’s also an order likely worth over $4 billion for Rivian, which is massive for a startup.”

Amazon’s Rivian vans will be deployed between 2021 and 2024, and Amazon says it aims to have 10,000 of its vans on the road by 2022 and all 100,000 vans on the road by 2030.

Amazon’s last-mile electric delivery vans are part of its $2 billion Climate Pledge Fund, a venture capital fund, which it announced in June of last year. The goal of Amazon and other companies who have signed The Climate Pledge is to be net zero by 2040, a decade ahead of the Paris Agreement target.

The Climate Pledge Fund will invest in companies in multiple industries, including transportation and logistics, energy generation, storage and utilization, manufacturing and materials, circular economy, and food and agriculture.

Where do you think Amazon should test its Rivian electric vans next? Let us know in the comments below.

Photo: Amazon

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.