Great news for van lovers! Rivian has broken free from its exclusivity agreement with Amazon and will soon sell its electric delivery vans to fleet customers across America. Deliveries are expected to start in 2024, which isn’t particularly far away.
While sales will only open to business customers at first, don’t be surprised if you start seeing more of these vans without Amazon branding on the streets of America. After all, urban delivery is an ideal use case for electric vehicles, as it involves a ton of stopping and starting through fairly quiet neighborhoods, and relatively short routes.
Opening up the Rivian van lineup is the Delivery 500 at a starting price of $83,000. Admittedly, that’s a lot of money, especially considering that Rivian’s R1S SUV starts at $78,000, and Ford’s E-Transit starts at $53,790. However, the Rivian Delivery 500 is a whole lot taller than an E-Transit, measuring in at a whopping 114.7 inches from the roof to the ground. When it comes to moving packages, height matters.
As a result of massive height and solid packaging, the Rivian Delivery 500 sports 487 cu.-ft. of cargo space, 75 more than GM’s incoming short-wheelbase BrightDrop Zevo 400, all in a package with a GVWR that slips neatly beneath the 10,000-pound threshold requiring additional licensing in certain jurisdictions. The Rivian Delivery 500 also sports a 2,734-pound payload capacity, a whopping 1,274 pounds more than you get in a BrightDrop Zevo 400 with a sub-10k GVWR. Mind you, it’s possibly to spec the short-wheelbase BrightDrop with an 11,000-pound GVWR, in which case its payload capacity increases to a more competitive 2,450 pounds.
As for what lies beneath the Rivian Delivery 500’s boxy body, David Tracy has done an excellent job geeking out over this thing’s composite leaf spring front suspension and aero shielding, but in case you can’t read that article right now, here are the absolute basics that you need to know. The Delivery 500 is front-wheel-drive thanks to a single electric motor on the front axle. Rivian hasn’t specified how powerful the motor is or how massive the battery pack is, but the firm does tout a 161-mile range. While that should be good enough for city use, hopping from suburb to suburb might require more juice.
Alright, so what if something huge isn’t big enough for your needs? What if you need to jump right up to something ginormous? Well, there’s also the Rivian Delivery 700, starting at $87,000. It’s 29.5 inches longer than the already 20-foot-8.5-inch-long Delivery 500, resulting in more than 23 feet of electric delivery van and some serious additional cargo space.
Compared to the Delivery 500, payload capacity shrinks to 2,513 pounds despite a 150-pound GVWR increase, but cargo volume is up 165 cubic feet to to 652 cubic feet. Against GM’s BrightDrop Zevo 600 equipped with a comparable sub-10,000-pound GVWR, we’re talking about an extra 713 pounds of payload capacity and 37 cu.-ft. of cargo space, but those gains come at a cost.
See, the Rivian Delivery 700 is really geared for last-mile delivery, where frequent urban stops hopping from mailbox to mailbox result in shorter routes. As a result, Rivian claims just 153 miles of range from its long wheelbase delivery van. However, the BrightDrop Zevo 600 boasts 250 miles of range, a substantially more practical figure that should even the tables tilted by the Rivian’s superior base payload capacity. Oh, and if you have a CDL isn’t a problem, that BrightDrop can be ordered with an 11,000-pound GVWR, bumping payload capacity up to 2,800 pounds.
With plenty of payload, I wouldn’t be surprised if Rivian’s electric delivery vans catch on with the RV market. After all, cramming a kitchen, a dinette, a bed or two, water tanks, a shower, passengers, and their belongings into something with a 2,734-pound payload capacity isn’t the hardest task in the world. However, with the range of an electric city car, these aren’t the best platforms for road-tripping. In any case, we’re excited to see another electric van on the market, even if it’s only being opened up to fleet sales to start.
(Photo credits: Rivian)
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