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Rivian R1T, R1S Delays Not Affecting Amazon Electric Van Rollout

Rivian recently announced that it wouldn’t be able to stick to the launch schedule of the R1T electric truck and R1S electric SUV.

Previously, the EV startup said both vehicles would launch in July 2021, but Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe recently sent a letter to customers announcing the R1T will arrive in September, followed by the R1S later in the fall.

While that’s hardly uplifting news for reservation holders and EV enthusiasts in general, Rivian was quick to alleviate any concerns regarding the rollout of the custom-designed delivery vans commissioned by Amazon.

Spokespeople for both companies confirmed to CNBC that Rivian still plans to begin volume production of the last-mile delivery vans this year, with the startup also maintaining the goal of putting 10,000 vehicles on the road as early as 2022.

These delivery vans are part of a huge order of 100,000 units Amazon placed in September 2019 as part of the e-commerce giant’s “The Climate Pledge” to meet the Paris Agreement ten years early. Rivian is supposed to deliver the entire order by 2030.

Amazon has already started testing Rivian-built vans in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oklahoma, and Denver, and is hoping its electric vans will cruise neighborhoods in 12 additional US cities by the end of this year.

The electric delivery van is built on Rivian’s customizable skateboard platform and can drive up to 150 miles (241 kilometers) on a single charge. It will come in three sizes capable of carrying 500, 700, or 900 cubic feet of packages. All of them have the same interior height, but the smallest one is narrower than the larger two.

Amazon’s vans will share the basic electrical and network architecture, ECUs, and battery packs with the Rivian R1S and R1T. For example, the basic single-motor e-axle drive units are sourced from the entry-level electric truck/SUV. However, the three skateboards used for the van are different enough from the R1 models to be assembled on a separate line.

The main difference is that the vans feature steel bodies on a steel ladder-frame skateboard while the R1S and R1T get a more sophisticated aluminum skateboard architecture and bodies made mostly of aluminum.

 

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