Published: Fri, September 20, 2019
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Amazon's order of 100,000 Rivian vans signals the automaker is ‘for real’

Amazon's order of 100,000 Rivian vans signals the automaker is ‘for real’

The company, which ships more than a 10 billion items a year on fuel-guzzling planes and trucks, said it has ordered 100,000 electric vans that will start delivering packages to shoppers' doorsteps in 2021.

Rivian added that when the fleet is fully deployed, it will save 4 million metric tons of Carbon dioxide a year.

The group organizing the employee walkout, Amazon Employees for Climate Change, has been pressuring Amazon for nearly a year to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and detail how it's preparing to deal with business disruptions caused by climate change.

The Paris Agreement, which was first signed in 2015, is an global agreement to control and limit climate change.

Thousands of Amazon employees earlier this year signed a shareholder resolution to set a climate change plan, which did not pass.

Amazon will meet the goals of the Paris climate accord 10 years ahead of schedule, according to Bezos after The Trump administration announced in June 2017 it would be withdrawing from it.

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The world's richest man said part of that pledge is an order for 100,000 electric delivery vans from a start-up they have invested in.

Bezos said he had spoken with other CEOs of global companies, and noted "I'm finding a lot of interest in joining the pledge". The e-commerce giant said 10,000 of the new electric vehicles will be on the road making deliveries by 2022 with the entire fleet scheduled to be in commission by 2030. Separately, a Rivian spokeswoman declined to discuss the financial terms but said the vehicles for Amazon will be assembled in IL and 10,000 will be on the road by late 2022.

Amazon on Thursday also announced a US$100 million donation to the Nature Conservancy to fund the Right Now Climate Fund, which engages in reforestation projects to remove carbon from the atmosphere.

Bezos defended Amazon's work with oil and gas companies, arguing that "we need to help them instead of vilify them", and said Amazon would take a "hard look" at campaign contributions to climate deniers.

The order is a major coup for a company that is aiming to launch its R1T plug-in pickup and R1S sport utility vehicle late next year.

"We want to use our scale and our scope to lead the way", Bezos said at a press conference. Amazon is now pledging to reach 80% renewable energy by 2024 and 100% renewable energy by 2030. "We know we can do it and we know we have to do it", Bezos said.

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