Amazon Unveils Fleet of 50 Electric Trucks in California

Amazon once again proved that it is one step ahead of time, 50 electric cargo trucks were presented that will carry out transport for Amazon, and it was announced that Amazon's AI Chatbot Q has been greatly improved and will be available a wider audie

by Sededin Dedovic
Amazon Unveils Fleet of 50 Electric Trucks in California
© Volvo Trucks / YOutube channel

Amazon is deploying 50 heavy-duty electric trucks in California, claiming it to be the largest such fleet in the country. The company asserts that these new trucks represent a significant step in its mission to eliminate pollution from its global operations – even as carbon emissions have risen in recent years.

Amazon states that the trucks will be integrated into operations where goods are moved from container ships in ports to fulfillment centers, as well as middle-mile operations where packages are transported from delivery centers to delivery centers.

From there, packages will be loaded into Amazon's last-mile fleet, which includes electric delivery vans produced by Rivian, The Verge reported.

A Rivian electric truck is displayed near the Nasdaq MarketSite building in Times Square on November 10, 2021 in New York City.

© Michael M. Santiago / Getty Images

The heavy-duty trucks are manufactured by Volvo VNR, the trucking division of the Swedish automaker that produces Class 8 tractor-trailers. Volvo produces several models with a range of up to 275 miles, a battery capacity of 565 kWh, and a charging time from 0 to 80 percent in 90 minutes.

Towing capacity can exceed 66,000 pounds, depending on the model, and battery range is likely to be affected by heavier towing loads. Some of the new trucks will operate as part of Amazon's drayage fleet, moving goods unloaded from cargo ships at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to its fulfillment center in Santa Fe Springs, California.

It is expected that around ten trucks will be operational by the end of the year. For middle-mile services, Amazon expects to deploy 35 electric trucks to shuttle goods between fulfillment centers and various locations, including sorting centers, air facilities, and delivery centers.

From there, packages are taken over by Amazon's delivery vans for their final journeys. "We are proud to have launched our largest fleet of heavy-duty electric vehicles in California to date," said Udit Madan, Vice President of Amazon's operations worldwide, in a statement.

Amazon has pledged to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040. However, this could be challenging given the sheer volume of the company's greenhouse gas emissions. In 2022, Amazon produced 71.27 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, a slight decrease from the previous year but still higher than in 2019 when the company first committed to neutrality.

That was the same year Amazon struck a major deal with Rivian to purchase 100,000 electric delivery vans. Since then, Rivian has delivered approximately 10,000 electric delivery vans – but has also ended its exclusive contract with the e-commerce giant, freeing it to sell its vans to other fleet owners.

To be sure, the vast majority of trucks and vans delivering your Amazon, FedEx, and UPS packages are powered by fossil fuels. Many companies plan to electrify their fleets, but the actual number of true electric vehicles on the road today is small.

AI chatbot Q soon even more accessible

Amazon is doubling down on enterprise AI with the release of its AI chatbot Q, even as its competitors aim to offer more consumer-oriented products. Amazon announced Q in November and initially made it available to only a small number of users.

In a post, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy writes that bringing Q to a larger audience will help address developer compliance issues.

AWS Database and Leadership Mat Wood presenting Ai Chatbot Q© Amazon Web Services / Youtube channel

The chatbot acts as an assistant for users of Amazon Web Services (AWS), learning from the company's data and workflows so that employees can ask questions about their business.

Users can also ask Q questions about coding, human resources information, or logistics, Amazon says. Amazon's focus on artificial intelligence is largely geared toward other enterprises, with most of its releases falling under the AWS banner.

It manages Amazon Bedrock, a library of models where companies can access Amazon's large language models along with other popular open-source AI models like Llama 3, Claude 3, and Stable Diffusion. Other uses of Amazon Q are also aimed at developers and companies.

"Tens of thousands of our customers from various industry verticals to startups are already building and innovating on top of Bedrock as the foundation for their AI generative strategy," says Swami Sivasubramanian, Vice President of AI and Data for AWS.

These customers include companies like website creator GoDaddy, National Australia Bank, financial services company Sun Life, and Toyota Connected North America, which develops cloud-based platforms for the automotive company.

Amazon says it has also added new capabilities to Q ahead of its general availability. Amazon Q Developer provides assistance with coding, application testing, security scanning, and issue resolution. Developers can request Q to list their AWS resources to see how much computing power they have or to summon AI agents who autonomously perform tasks like software updates or code documentation.