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Amazon starts testing electric delivery vans in San Francisco

Amazon starts testing electric delivery vans in San Francisco
© Courtesy Amazon

Amazon has begun testing its electric delivery vans in San Francisco, calling it the latest move toward its pledge to significantly reduce carbon emissions. 

The company in a statement shared with The Hill on Thursday said it chose San Francisco as one of the first cities to use vehicles from startup Rivian Automotive because of the city’s “great customers, unique terrain and climate.”

Amazon in September 2019 agreed to purchase 100,000 vehicles from Rivian, and its first electric vehicle was unveiled in October of last year with features including the ability to drive up to 150 miles on a single charge. 

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The tech giant last month announced that it had begun testing the vans along delivery routes in Los Angeles, and it plans on adding electric delivery vans to 14 other cities in 2021. 

“From what we've seen, this is one of the fastest modern commercial electrification programs, and we’re incredibly proud of that," Amazon global fleet and products director Ross Rachey said in a statement.

“As we continue to grow and invest in California, we want to do so responsibly, so we’re excited for customers in the Bay Area to see these vehicles cruising through their neighbourhood,” Rachey added. 

Amazon said Thursday that deliveries using electric vehicles in San Francisco will initially be conducted out of the company’s delivery station in Richmond, Calf., with plans for other delivery sites across the region in the future. 

Richmond Mayor Tom Butt (D) said in a statement included in Amazon’s press release, “Richmond is a regional and state leader for climate action, including the creation of green jobs and infrastructure, the implementation of a robust climate action plan, the signing of the Paris Agreement in 2016 and much more.” 

The vans are one of the initiatives included in Amazon’s Climate Pledge, which sets a goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2040, a decade earlier than the commitment set in the Paris climate agreement. 

As part of the pledge, Amazon has said that it is investing in new technologies, alternative fuels and more sustainable delivery methods. 

Amazon on Thursday said that last year alone, it delivered more than 20 million packages to customers using electric vehicles across North America and Europe.