US electric commercial vehicle start up, Rivian, has gained the attention of Wall Street  despite the fact that it is still only a private company.

Rivian was valued at about $3.5 billion before Amazon announced that it plans to buy about 100,000 Rivian electric delivery vans and as the Wall St Journal has reported, that order will clearly have a significant impact throughout the US transport and logistics industry, 

Amazon is expected to take delivery of the first Rivian vans next year and plans to have 10,000 on the road by 2022 and all 100,000 on the road by 2023.

To give some idea of the scale of the Rivian order Amazon is currently in the process of taking delivery of about 25,000 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans.

“The Rivian order represents a step-function change in Amazon’s last-mile fleet,”  a Morgan Stanley analyst said. 

By comparison, US logistics giant UPS currently has 123,000 delivery vehicles across its global network  including cars, vans, prime movers and motorcycles and the analyst believes that Amazon could have a larger delivery fleet than UPS by by 2024.

The purchase is also likely to place pressure on major transport operators including  UPS, DHL and FedEx to become greener, with Amazon pledging that all of its delivery fleet will be powered by renewable energy by 2030. Around 40 per cent of its fleet is already powered by renewable eneergy.

Amazon was part of a major Rivian investment round earlier this year, purchasing a $AUD 1 billion stake in the electric vehicle company while Ford invested another $AUD 700 million with a $AUD500 million investment  from Cox Automotive.

Its believed  that Ford’s drive to electrify its top selling F-150 pickup truck will see it use Rivian’s skateboard platform which is flexible enough to fit existing F-150 models with minimal changes.

Ford’s investment will also benefit Rivian when it comes  to experience and knowledge in vehicle production and similarly investor Cox Automotive will bring its knowledge and expertise in servicing, logistics and retail technology and will help Rivian to expand internationally relatively quickly while avoiding  the growing pains that Tesla faced with its after-sales services.

Rivian is leading the race in the electric light commercial van and pick up segment and with such strong investment from major industry investors should have a much smoother mass-market launch than Tesla.

Rivian will build its vehicles in a 900,000 square metre former Mitusbishi assembly plant which it acquired in a 2017 liquidation sale for about $AUD22.