Electric vehicle startup Rivian Automotive and its largest shareholder and customer Amazon are reportedly in talks to end the exclusivity part of their electric van deal.
According to a report from The Wall Street Journal citing people familiar with the matter, Amazon informed the EV maker it wanted to buy about 10,000 vans this year. The number was at the low end of a range it previously provided Rivian.
In response, Rivian proposed removing the exclusivity terms, which would allow the company to sell its Electric Delivery Vehicles (EDV) to other fleet and retail customers, increasing revenues. The sources added that the talks are ongoing.
Rivian said it continues to work closely with Amazon, which had placed an order for 100,000 electric delivery vans in 2019 as part of the company's plans to cut carbon emissions. According to the deal, the vans have to be delivered by 2030.
As of November 2022, Amazon had taken delivery of more than 1,000 EDVs and inducted them into its fleet. Last month, the company said it delivered over 10 million packages with the vans since adding them to its fleet.
"While nothing has changed with our agreement with Rivian, we have always said we want others to benefit from their technology in the long run," a spokesperson from Amazon was quoted as saying by Reuters.
Gallery: Amazon Electric Delivery Vehicle
“Our relationship with Amazon has always been a positive one. We continue to work closely together and are navigating a changing economic climate, similar to many companies,” a Rivian spokeswoman told The Wall Street Journal.
Amazon and Rivian worked together closely on the development of the Electric Delivery Vehicle, which was designed to optimize the driving and delivery experience for Amazon drivers.
Interestingly, a VIN document Rivian filed with the NHTSA in October 2021 revealed EDV trims like S for service and Z for Amazon. The former possibly indicated that the EV startup had planned to sell the EDV to other customers besides Amazon from the very beginning.
In December 2022, Rivian backed out of a partnership with Mercedes-Benz to build large electric vans in a new plant located in Europe. The automaker made the decision public only three months after announcing the agreement.