Amazon is ordering tens of thousands of electric delivery vans. That has two companies gearing up for increased production. Could orders that large affect the entire auto industry?
Amazon has ordered 1,800 e-vans from Mercedes-Benz in Europe. That’s a big order. But the retail giant also asked for 100,000 more from U.S. start-up Rivian. That’s downright huge—especially for an industry that has struggled to make an affordable, popular vehicle.
But Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ shiny new vans aren’t just about delivering more products faster. Bezos hopes the switch to electric will help the environment too.
Researchers know the transport sector—planes, trains, trucks, and cars—is a major source of pollution. And the way deliveries from online retailers like Amazon are surging, air quality is likely to keep suffering.
Balancing concerns about the Earth and human progress can get complicated. Sometimes God gets left entirely out of the picture. As almighty Creator, God controls His universe. But He expects humans to act as responsible caretakers. (Genesis 1:26)
To meet demand from Amazon, Rivian is designing its most efficient vehicle (EV) ever. CEO RJ Scaringe says the new EV “includes . . . systems to make it easier for the drivers to focus on operating the vehicle [and] removes the need for extra devices that provide address and mapping information.” Drivers will also be able to consult Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant instead of keying commands into a handheld device.
Amazon hopes EVs will begin delivering U.S. packages next year. The company plans to have 10,000 electric vehicles in use “as early as 2022 and all 100,000 vehicles on the road by 2030.”
Scaringe predicts that Amazon’s big order will probably have an “echo effect.” That is, other EV producers will re-evaluate their own systems.
“Amazon’s pledge [to buy electric vans] shows there’s important demand for e-vehicles,” says Lucien Mathieu, an e-mobility and transport analyst.
Economies of scale are the cost advantages of making more of a product. This economic principle says that the more a company makes of something—shirts, eyeglasses, food, electric vehicles, etc.—the more the cost per unit decreases. Producing more allows for bulk buying and increased speed and improved technique from repetition. These and other factors help drive prices down.
Researchers believe economies of scale in the EV industry will bring prices down for everyone. In turn, that could make e-autos more popular. If that happens, automakers will begin making more of them. Consumers will begin buying more of them. Electric vehicles could supply a much-needed jolt to the sluggish transportation industry.