Amazon’s announcement that it will open two delivery centers with recharging stations for electric delivery vehicles is great news for the state’s green energy efforts.
On Monday, the online giant announced additional investments in New Castle County as two new fulfillment centers prepare to open at the former GM Boxwood site west of Wilmington and in the Delaware City Logistics Park south of New Castle. The two delivery centers will serve the sites listed above.
Last month, Amazon launched full-scale testing of the electric vans in Los Angeles. The manufacturer is Rivian, an EV start-up.
Rivian, which has gained $8 billion in funding from Amazon, Ford, and others, plans to roll out 100,000 vans for Amazon between now and 2030.
Rivian has developed a “skateboard” frame that can be adapted for various vehicles that will include its own electric pickup truck.
The current technology gives the vehicles a 150-mile range, enough for a day’s worth of deliveries in urban and suburban areas.
As we have learned with Tesla, batteries, and software can be upgraded to extend the EVs’ range further. The timetable calls for Delaware to see electric vehicles late this year.
Amazon and Rivian are not alone in their electric efforts. Ford, Mercedes, and GM, all plan to roll out electric delivery vehicles.
GM has already introduced an electric pallet on wheels that can travel up to three miles an hour and ease deliveries in downtowns, office parks, and other areas. Next up is a van that, according to GM, will offer a 250-mile range.
Even the US Postal Service got into the act by naming a manufacturer for a new delivery van that can run off batteries. Details are vague, although you can bet that the Biden-Harris administration will push hard for more electrics.
So far, EVs account for about 1,100 of Delaware’s 900,000 vehicles. Based on Tesla sightings that figure is conservative.
That number will grow rapidly if EVs prove to have operating costs at or below the gas and diesel fleet numbers.
A final bonus will come if vehicle-to-grid technology (the subject of a research effort at the University of Delaware) moves into the mainstream. Vehicle-to-grid allows vehicles to store electricity with surplus power going into the grid.
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