Update: ‘Specifications’ and ‘Made in Bloomington, Illinois’ sections updated.
After commencing Rivian R1T deliveries in small volumes in September 2021, the company began Rivian R1S deliveries in December 2021. It targeted deliveries of the first units of the Rivian EDV 700 in the same month. Unofficially called Rivian Amazon EDV 700, this is the company’s first electric van for parcel delivery. 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.
Video Source: YouTube/Amazon News
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.
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, Robert Scaringe, CEO, Rivian, revealed the company will use an ‘Enduro’ single-motor drive unit in a front-wheel drive EDV model later this year. 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 this year, 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 this year 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 EDV 700 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 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 van. 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
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.
Production hurdles at the plant
An Automotive News report dated January 26, 2022, suggests that the brand is preparing to fast-track operations after manufacturing was halted in January for one week for fixes and process improvements at the Normal plant. However, the brand is back towards making 200 units per week (R1T, R1S and EDV models) and aims to boost production further to meet its sales targets, the report adds. During the Q4 2021 earnings conference call on March 10, 2022, Claire McDonough, CFO, Rivian, said that the company produced 1,003 vehicles and delivered 909 vehicles in the fourth quarter of 2021.
Scaringe added that the EDV production line is ramping up swiftly, but supplier ramp challenges are limiting it. The company is utilizing this time to improve the EDV 700 with software updates based on feedback from Amazon and the drivers. It expects EDV 700 production to ramp up significantly during Q2 2022 (April-June 2022). The company has set a target of producing 25,000 vehicles in 2022, and Scaringe suggested during the Q1 2022 earnings conference call that one-third of them could be EDVs.
Rivian built 2,553 EVs and delivered 1,227 units in Q1 2022. By May 9, 2022, the company had produced approximately 5,000 EVs since the start of production in September 2021.
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.
This page will be updated as new information on the electric van is available.
Featured Image Source: YouTube/Amazon News