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Rivian and Amazon preview electric delivery van

Rivian and Amazon give us a closer look at their new electric delivery van.
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Electric vehicle start-up Rivian and retail giant Amazon have revealed additional information and clay models of their collaboration, an electric van.

Last year, Amazon revealed it was investing US$700 million (A$1.03 billion) in the American EV manufacturer and ordering 100,000 electric delivery vehicles.

Amazon plans to have 10,000 vehicles on the road and in service by 2022, with the other 90,000 operational by 2030.

They’ll be manufactured at Rivian’s plant in Normal, Illinois, formerly a Mitsubishi factory.

The van, which appears to be referred to as RPV, will be available in three different sizes, in either front- or all-wheel-drive, and with multiple different battery sizes.

Every RPV will include autonomous emergency braking, lane keeping assist, pedestrian warning, traffic sign recognition and a warning system that detects distracted driver behaviour.

Inside, there’s a digital instrument cluster and a central display screen that’s integrated with Amazon’s logistics management. The overall appearance is exceedingly minimalist.

As befitting an Amazon vehicle, the RPV will also include the Amazon Alexa virtual assistant.

All of this technology aims to reduce the driver’s need to physically handle devices.

Amazon sought the input of its delivery people, asking them about how they enter and exit their vehicles and load and unload packages.

This development process has even incorporated virtual reality to simulate the drivers’ experience driving the RPV.

The investment in Rivian’s electric vans is part of The Climate Pledge.

Companies that sign onto the pledge commit to measuring and reporting their emissions on a regular basis, implement decarbonisation strategies, and aim to achieve net zero annual carbon emissions by 2040.

Effectively, signatories are aiming to meet the standards of the Paris Agreement ten years early.

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Dave Clark, Amazon's senior vice president of worldwide operations, said, "It's important that large companies like Amazon stimulate investment in the development of low-carbon products and services that will be required to help companies of all sizes decarbonise their operations and support a thriving, low-carbon economy."

Rivian has been very busy lately. In addition to the Amazon van project, it’s readying its R1S SUV and R1T pickup truck for launch. Production of both will begin this year.

Additionally, Rivian is developing an SUV off of its skateboard platform for Ford’s luxury brand, Lincoln.

Last year, Ford invested US$500 million (A$741.4 million) in the start-up.