Amazon’s Rivian electric vans have far lower range than expected

Amazon’s live road tests of its Rivian electric delivery vans have shown a far lower range than first billed when Amazon placed an order for 100,000 of them.

In a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) the delivery vans supposedly have a range of between 120-150 miles. Live road tests have shown that with air conditioning on for driver comfort this is reduced by as much as 40%.

Where the heating or cooling is on for driver comfort, range falls to between 72-90 miles. In a country with major temperature variations from sub-zero in the winter to the high 30 degrees C range (and more) in summer, this could well present a major issue as far as Amazon’s fleet of new electric vans are concerned.

In response to media enquiries, a spokesperson for Amazon said that the range is indeed impacted by the use of air conditioning but the vans being tested do not have the same amount of insulation in the cab as the final production vehicles will. This in turn impacts the amount of energy used to heat or cool it.

Amazon ordered 100,000 Rivian electric vans in September 2019 for delivery by 2024. It plans to have the first 10,000 on the roads by the end of 2022.