It’s almost time for Santa to come rushing down that chimney, or, as we say when the little ones aren’t around, long live home deliveries! And, by the end of the year, over 100 U.S. cities will see Rivian’s Electric Amazon Delivery Van bringing some of the goodies in, with the EV marker set to deliver 10,000 of these to Amazon—make that 100,000 by the end of the decade. And, trust me, you’re going to have questions about this quirky, futuristic-looking thingie.
Sure, the drivers may be busy, but Doug DeMuro recently got to spend some time with an Amazon EDV (Electric Delivery Vehicle or Van), which means you should get your answers.
While it may not be apparent at first, the vans Rivian is building exclusively for stakeholder Amazon (over 18%) share the RCV architecture that also serves the EV maker’s R1S SUV and R1T pickup truck.
Yes, those are dual-motor, 850 hp AWD machines with trick tech, such as a highway mode that lowers the car and increases range thanks to the optimized half-shaft angle reducing losses and, of course, improved aero.
The van, on the other hand, features a single motor on the front axle. And while this 400 hp-ish FWD spec is the only one available right now, the streamlined production process means there are three possible length and two width values (more on this below).
At least from this side of the screen, the cabin looks and feels a bit like the interior of the U.S.S. Enterprise-D from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Or, for non-trekkies, but still adventurers, this is just a forbidden conversion away from becoming a tiny smart home on wheels—this gal turned an old Mercedes postal van into her mobile quarters and it looks awesome!
It’s reassuring to see that Rivian spent time with Amazon drivers to see what actually matters to them. And that’s how the vehicle got its power sliding doors (curbside and interior unit leading into the cargo area) and many other ergonomic features.
It seems there would be some room for improvement though. Since Doug mentions a driver’s lunch, a refrigerated interior compartment would’ve been nice. More importantly, having all the controls on the touchscreen interface means many cold-season gloves just won’t work.
But, other than that—and maybe the strange-to-me conclusion that drivers didn’t use the radio, which saw this being excluded—the van seems like it has many ways of making its operator’s life easier compared to the hauling machines of the past.
And it’s not just the user interface or the ergonomics, garage-style rear door and all. Instead, I’ve brought along a second video that takes us where Doug couldn’t, namely out on the road.
An Amazon driver reviewed the Rivian delivery van last month
About a month ago, a Seattle-based Amazon driver known on YouTube as Friday Adventure Club gave us a day in his life with the EDV, albeit while still appearing to skip the actual driving part. That’s 1 million views and counting, in case you were curious…
Sure, it would’ve been fun to see a package delivery van do 60 mph in 8s, which is about the same as the Mk IV Golf GTI hot hatch from two decades ago. But let’s be honest, we can all imagine that and move on to the bits that really matter—here’s the R1T drag racing like it’s nobody’s business.
As such, the driver focused on showing us how the Rivian machine makes life easier for the one behind the wheel.
The clip, which is the second one below, sees the man praising the 360-degree camera and keyless functionality, even though the sync between the delivery address on the smartphone app and the one displayed on the screen is not perfect. His early-software-stuff-that-can-be-addressed assessment seems legit, though.
You want the delivery van(s) in your neighborhood to be electric
Of course, the EDV is also friendly with the environment, from nature to keeping noise, smoke, and… anything-less-than-happy design outside neighborhoods.
Nevertheless, the ground clearance appears a bit low for certain areas, which is probably a compromise that had to be made for driving range.
Speaking of which, the EDV currently comes in three sizes: 500, 700, and 900 (this marks the storage capacity in cubic feet), with their lengths varying between 20 and under 30 feet.
And while the first two options pack a range of around 150 miles, the largest one will only do 120 miles, which, apparently, is more than enough to cover Amazon’s typical delivery routes.
Rivian’s and Amazon’s future
Rivian is so busy right now that it recently had to postpone a deal that would’ve seen the American company and Mercedes-Benz jointly building a pair of electric vans at a plant in Jawor, Poland. One of these was supposed to ride on Mercedes’ next-gen modular electric van architecture (VAN.EA), while the other would use Rivian’s Light Vehicle (RLV) platform.
And while supply chain issues have affected the production of the R1S and R1T in the past, this is starting to improve. Nevertheless, we’ll still have to wait for 2026—that’s one more year than initially planned—for Rivian’s more affordable R2 range of EVs.
As for what the future of ground deliveries holds (Amazon already operates delivery drones, remember?) it’s also worth mentioning that Amazon owns over 5% stock in Aurora Innovation. This is an Uber-backed American specialist known for Aurora Driver, an autonomous driving system that can be integrated into a wide range of vehicles.