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Amazon may end exclusivity arrangement with Rivian

Amazon is investing $200 million in new safety technologies for its vehicles.
Rivian may supply electric delivery vehicles to companies other than Rivian.

Amazon’s ongoing rollout of electric delivery vans from Rivian is continuing as planned, but it may be taking a new turn.

An Amazon spokesperson confirmed a report in CNBC that the e-tail giant is in talks with electric vehicle manufacturer Rivian to allow it to provide its electric delivery trucks to other companies.

Currently, Rivian has an agreement to exclusively supply the vehicles to Amazon. Rivian recently announced it intends to issue $1.3 billion worth of green convertible senior notes due 2029 in a private offering.

“While nothing has changed with our agreement with Rivian, we’ve always said that we want others to benefit from their technology in the long run because having more electric delivery vehicles on the road is good for our communities and our planet,” the Amazon spokesperson said in an official statement emailed to Chain Store Age. “That’s a big part of why we invest in companies like Rivian – to both meet our needs and to help scale technologies that will benefit others and protect our planet for future generations.”

Amazon and Rivian – a brief history

Amazon launched a pilot of the Rivian electric vans in Los Angeles in early 2021. As part of this test, Amazon delivered over 430,000 packages and accumulated over 90,000 miles with the Rivian vans.

According to Amazon, this testing enabled Rivian to improve the vehicle’s performance, safety and durability in various climates and geographies. Rivian has also completed certifications with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, California Air Resources Board, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

In November 2022, Amazon announced it had reached a goal set in July 2022 to deploy electric vans it designed and built in partnership with manufacturer Rivian to deliver packages in U.S. cities including Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Kansas City, Nashville, Phoenix, San Diego, Seattle, and St. Louis.

Customers began receiving deliveries during the 2022 holiday season via electric van in new cities, including Austin, Boston, Denver, Houston, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Madison, Newark, New York, Oakland, Pittsburgh, Portland, Provo, and Salt Lake City.

The e-tail giant previously committed to having the first 10,000 Rivian vehicles on the road delivering to customers worldwide as early as 2022, with a planned full fleet of 100,000 operational by 2030.  The Rivian investment, first announced in 2019, is part of Amazon’s Climate Pledge to be net zero carbon across its entire business by 2040.

The custom vehicles are made at Rivian’s factory in Illinois, and include technology and features such as a safety-first design focused on 360-degree visibility and protecting drivers and pedestrians; safety features including sensor detection, highway, and traffic assist technology; embedded technology that fully integrates the delivery workflow with the vehicle, enabling seamless access to routing, navigation, and driver support; and batteries that are light, resilient, and low-cost, in addition to lasting the lifetime of the vehicle.

Read more of the CNBC article here.

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