Rivian is best known for its R1T electric truck and R1S electric SUV, but the company also has a commercial side to its business. The company has been building and deploying tons of electric commercial vans for years now — but they’ve only had one customer who has been buying them: Amazon.
Amazon is a big investor in Rivian, so when the company released its commercial vans, Amazon had an exclusive deal for the product. The companies have agreed to supply and buy around 10,000+ vans over the course of the next decade, but Rivian has been limited to Amazon being its only customer for those vans.
That recently changed when both companies agreed to end the exclusiveness of the deal. While Amazon still plans to buy thousands more commercial vans from Rivian, the automaker is now free to sign more deals with other companies to expand its commercial EV business. And today, the first one of those companies has popped up.
In a press release, AT&T has announced that it is partnering with Rivian and will be purchasing the company’s commercial EV vans as well as its R1 vehicles to use in its service fleet. The company says that it is doing so as part of a pilot program to “improve safety, reduce costs, and cut its carbon footprint.” AT&T says that the move is part of the company’s plan to become carbon-neutral by 2035.
Hardmon Williams, SVP of AT&T Connected Solutions, said in a statement that Rivian is “setting the standard for the evolving demands of modern transportation.”
“We’re excited to purchase Rivian EVs for our fleet. This pilot is another important step in our ongoing efforts toward sustainability, reducing our carbon footprint and embracing a cleaner future for our operations. With advanced connectivity and a vision for a sustainable future, Rivian is setting the standard for the evolving demands of modern transportation.”
Dagan Mishoulam, VP of Strategy & Fleet at Rivian, said in a statement that “around a quarter of CO2 emitted in the transportation sector in the US comes from commercial vans,” so they look forward to helping to cut down these emissions by working with the company.
“We couldn’t be happier to collaborate with AT&T as we work together to help cut emissions and protect our environment. Around a quarter of CO2 emitted in the transportation sector in the US comes from commercial vans, so it’s imperative we do all we can as soon as possible to help cut emissions. Our category defining vehicles offer some of the most advanced technology in the sector and are continually improved through over-the-air updates. We’re very much looking forward to expanding our relationship with AT&T to help them achieve their climate goals.”
It’s not surprising to see Rivian and AT&T team up here, especially considering that AT&T is the exclusive provider of connectivity in Rivian’s vehicles in the United States and Canada. It’s currently unclear exactly how many vehicles AT&T will be purchasing from Rivian but the company says it plans to start adding vehicles to its fleet starting in early 2024.
The announcement comes a couple of weeks after Rivian opened up its first leasing program for the R1T electric truck. We’re still waiting for a leasing program to begin for the R1S.