Update: ‘Rivian sales in 2022’ section updated and ‘Observations’ and ‘TopElectricSUV says’ sections added.
In addition to the Rivian R1T and Rivian R1S, the Rivian EDV 700 is on sale now, although exclusively for Amazon. Amazon delivered over 430,000 packages using Rivian EDV prototypes from 2021 through launch, the company said in a YouTube video on September 23, 2022. The company started delivering packages using the final version of its custom electric van on July 21, 2022.
Chicago, San Diego, Phoenix, Baltimore, Dallas, Kansas City, Nashville, Seattle, and St. Louis are among the several cities where the so-called Rivian Amazon van is on duty. By the end of 2022, the EDV 700 will be present in more than 100 cities. By 2030, Amazon wants to expand the usage of its custom electric delivery vehicles to 100,000 locations across the U.S. Here’s everything we know about the Rivian Amazon van.
The Rivian EDV 700 is an electric delivery van custom-designed for Amazon, and so, if you were looking to buy one, you’re out of luck. EDV is a series of multiple electric vans Rivian plans to gradually launch as it expands its commercial vehicle line-up. The other models officially confirmed for launch are Rivian EDV 500 and Rivian 900, and as their names suggest, the former is a smaller model and the latter is a bigger model.
Platform & Dimensions
The Rivian EDV 700 sits on the RCV platform, which is quite different from the platform underpinning the brand’s passenger models. According to a MotorTrend report, while the R1T and R1S feature an aluminum skateboard architecture and an aluminum-intensive body, the EDV use a steel body on a steel ladder-frame skateboard.
In a conversation with Bloomberg in July 2022, Robert Scaringe, founder and CEO, Rivian, said that “the van and the consumer vehicle are similar.” They use the same core technologies, including the electronic stack, the network architecture, and elements of the propulsion platform. However, the body and interior are very different.
The EDV 700 is 277 inches long and has a wheelbase of 187 inches. Weighing 9,350 lbs. (gross), the electric delivery van offers a cargo space of 660 cubic feet. While ‘EDV’ in the model’s name is the abbreviation of the type of vehicle, ‘700’ refers to the approximate cargo space it provides.
Battery & Motor
Rivian has said that the EDV 700 achieved a range of 201 miles on a full charge on testing it as per EPA’s procedure. In its Q4 2021 shareholder letter, the company said it will offer the RCV platform models in single-motor FWD and dual-motor AWD configurations. The document suggested the usage of the R1’s new in-house-designed and manufactured single-motor drive unit in the Rivian electric vans by the end of 2022.
During Rivian’s Q1 2022 earnings conference call on May 11, 2022, Scaringe revealed the company will use an ‘Enduro’ single-motor drive unit in a front-wheel drive EDV model later in 2022. At a later stage, it will employ the Enduro motor in dual-motor AWD R1 product (R1T or R1S) as well, one at the front and one at the rear. It is currently installing a plant for manufacturing the Enduro drive unit.
Iron-based chemistry coming soon
The EDV 700’s battery pack comprises NMC (Nickel manganese cobalt) cells, but in the future, Rivian will introduce another configuration with a more cost-effective and durable battery pack consisting of LFP (Lithium iron phosphate) cells. On March 10, 2022, Scaringe confirmed during the company’s Q4 2021 earnings conference call that it will introduce a Standard Battery Pack with LFP cells in commercial vehicles later in 2022, followed by passenger models by late 2023.
We believe our commercial customers will see similar daily range capabilities with LFP chemistry, and this chemistry provides meaningful cost savings for us.Q4 2021 Rivian Shareholder Letter
Scaringe revealed that while the company is developing battery chemistries entirely in-house, the LFP cells planned for introduction later in 2022 will come from an outside supplier. In the R1T and R1S, Rivian is expecting its Standard Battery Pack to deliver a range of more than 260 miles.
During the Q1 2022 earnings conference call, Scaringe said that LFP chemistry is a great fit for a base model configuration and a commercial vehicle. In addition to diversifying in cell chemistries, the company wants to ensure it has the right selection of cell suppliers. Scaringe reaffirmed an EDV model will debut the LFP battery pack, and the R1 product line will receive it later.
The Rivian EDV700 has quite a car-like appearance on the inside. It features a sleek dashboard, a fully digital instrument cluster, a flat-bottomed two-spoke steering wheel, and a large horizontal touchscreen infotainment system. The center console is titled towards the driver for accessing the infotainment system easier and with minimum distraction. Rivian has used gray as the base color for the cabin and added blue accents in Amazon’s version to match the color scheme of Amazon Prime.
The Rivian Amazon van has some features built into it to ensure the driver gets at least a basic level of comfort and safety. It includes a climate control system, a large touchscreen infotainment system, heated and cooled seats and steering wheel, and heated armrests. Another interesting feature is heated wire-based defrosting.
Thanks to a front-hinged door (instead of a sliding door) on the driver’s side, the EDV 700 should provide more protection to the driver in a side impact in a crash. The steps provide sufficient grip even when wet, and assist handles are also present to safely enter or exit the cabin. Radar and camera-based ADAS features like Forward-Collision Alert, Automatic Energy Braking, and Lane Keeping Assist are also part of the package.
Rivian has received an order of 100,000 EDVs from Amazon, and they will be a mix of multiple models. The company plans to begin shipping the EDV 500 next, a model that is narrower and shorter than the EDV 700. The larger EDV 900 will probably reach Amazon facilities in 2023 or later. Every commercial vehicle Rivian sells to Amazon will feature FleetOS, its end-to-end, centralized fleet management platform that will earn it a monthly subscription fee.
During this time, we have also been working in close partnership with Amazon to refine the digital integration of the EDV as well as our software platform to support the most effective operation of the vehicles.Q4 2021 Rivian Shareholder Letter describing the partnership with Amazon
YouTube channel Friday Adventure Club has shared interesting observations of the Rivian Amazon van. Apparently, the software of the infotainment system and instrument cluster is a little slow. It takes time for the infotainment system to respond to touch inputs and for the instrument cluster to adjust and display the new information obtained from the same. Another possible software glitch is that sometimes all the pickup/delivery stops on the infotainment system and the smartphone app don’t match.
Video Source: YouTube/Friday Adventure Club
Small inconveniences aside, the biggest difference for the driver on the Rivian EDV 700 from Amazon’s traditional vans is the ease of accessing the cargo area from the inside, which saves time and energy. The ease of operation of various controls and the car-like comfort creatures also make the work routine swifter. Lastly, the cargo area has enough height for a tall person to walk through without needing to crouch.
Rivian is establishing a mobile service vehicle network consisting of a Service Van and a Service R1T. The company can complete the majority of service work, including any repairs that don’t require a vehicle lift, via mobile service. To give a specific number in this regard, it can do 80% of all repairs right at home. Customers can get their vehicle services from Rivian technicians at work or any other place of their convenience, too. All they need to do is schedule a service appointment through the Rivian app or directly with the company’s service support team. For unplanned service needs, say in case of a breakdown, Rivian does offer roadside assistance.
Made in Bloomington, Illinois
Rivian builds both R1 and RCV platform models locally at its 3.3 million sq. ft. factory in Normal, Illinois which falls under the Bloomington-Normal metropolitan area outside Indiana. The plant’s annual production capacity is 150,000 vehicles, but the company plans to increase it to 200,000 vehicles by 2023, as it adds variants of the Rivian Amazon van.
Ambarella supplies SoC solutions to Rivian
California-based semiconductor company Ambarella supplies the technology behind the Rivian Amazon EDV 700’s autopilot and driver assistance systems, said the company’s CEO Fermi Wang at the firm’s Q4 2021 earnings announcement on February 28, 2022. Ambarella’s CV2 System on a Chip (SoC) is used to process the cameras’ visual data. The chips are used on the electric van and the Rivian R1S SUV.
Rivian sales in 2022
Rivian built 2,553 EVs and delivered 1,227 EVs in Q1 2022. As operations improved, production and deliveries increased significantly to reach 4,401 units and 4,467 units, respectively, in Q2 2022. In Q3 2022, the company produced 7,363 EVs and shipped 6,584 EVs. In all, the company manufactured 14,317 EVs and sold 11,388 EVs between January and September 2022.
The Rivian EDV 700, at least in the Amazon-specific application, impresses on cargo space, ease of operation, comfort and convenience, all of which comes with a pure-electric powertrain. While Rivian’s electric van could use a few improvements, it appears to be set for big success as American fleets switch to zero-emission vehicles.
Featured Image Source: YouTube/Amazon News