REUTERS: Amazon.com Inc said on Friday it had ordered 1,800 electric vans from Mercedes-Benz for its European delivery fleet, as part of the online retailer's plans to run a carbon neutral business by 2040.
A majority of the electric vehicles from Daimler AG's car and vans division will go into service this year, the company said, adding that it had ordered 1,200 of Mercedes-Benz's larger eSprinter models and 600 of the midsize eVitos.
The order is the largest for Mercedes-Benz's electric vehicles to date and includes 800 vans for Germany and 500 for the United Kingdom.
It is dwarfed, however, by Amazon's recent order for 100,000 electric delivery vans from Rivian Automotive LLC, a startup it has invested in.
Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos said in a statement the Daimler agreement was part of the retailer's "journey to build the most sustainable transportation fleet in the world."
Mercedes-Benz on Friday joined The Climate Pledge, started by Amazon last year, which calls on signatories to be net zero carbon across their businesses by 2040. The automaker has previously said it was aiming to have a carbon neutral fleet by 2039.
In 2018, Amazon became the biggest customer of Mercedes' non-electric Sprinter vans, securing 20,000 vehicles for delivery contractors.
"Moving forward, we are prioritizing the addition of electric vehicles," Ross Rachey, Amazon's director of global fleet and products for last-mile delivery told Reuters.
Other delivery companies are pushing for more electric fleets. In January United Parcel Service Inc said it was ordering 10,000 delivery trucks from UK-based Arrival Ltd.
Daimler's rivals are also working on bringing electric vans to market. Ford Motor Co plans an all-electric version of its Transit van in North America in 2022, and General Motors Co aims to start production of an electric van in late 2021.
(Reporting by Nick Carey; Editing by Tom Brown)