Amazon has just placed an order for 100,000 electric delivery vans – the largest ever purchase of electric vehicles in the world. The first of the vans will hit the road starting 2021 with 10,000 new EVs purchased from Rivian, a new EV maker which Amazon has invested in.

The full fleet will ferry Amazon goods on the road by 2030. The order for so many vans is massive, since FedEx uses 85,000 motorized vehicles while UPS uses 123,000 cars, vans, tractors, and motorcycles for global deliveries. Reportedly, only 10,000 of the latter use “alternative fuel and advanced technology.”

“Bold steps by big companies will make a huge difference in the development of new technologies and industries to support a low carbon economy. With this step, Amazon also helps many other companies to accelerate their own decarbonization," says Christiana Figueres, founding partner of Global Optimism.

Amazon has poured $440 million into the purchase and expects to save four million metric tons of carbon per year by 2030. The announcement comes as part of Amazon collaborating with Global Optimism and their newly-established Climate Pledge – a commitment to meet the Paris Agreement 10 years early. Amazon is the first signatory of the pledge which calls on participants to achieve net zero carbon across their businesses by 2040. The Paris Accord sets the timeline at 2050.

Christiana Figueres, former climate change chief of the United Nations and founding partner of Global Optimism, said, “Bold steps by big companies will make a huge difference in the development of new technologies and industries to support a low carbon economy. With this step, Amazon also helps many other companies to accelerate their own decarbonization.

“If Amazon can set ambitious goals like this and make significant changes at their scale, we think many more companies should be able to do the same and will accept the challenge. We are excited to have others join.”

In 2017, Amazon made a long-term commitment to power its global infrastructure with 100 percent renewable energy. The online retail giant is pledging to touch 80 percent renewable energy usage by 2024 and fully sustainable energy usage by 2030.

EV firm Rivian Automotive will supply Amazon with the electric delivery vans, starting 2021.

The firm has launched 15 utility-scale wind and solar renewable energy projects that will generate over 1,300 MW of renewable capacity and deliver more than 3.8 million MWh of clean energy annually. It has also installed more than 50 solar rooftops on fulfilment centres around the globe that generate 98 MW of renewable capacity and deliver 130,000 MWh of clean energy annually.

Amazon is also launching the Right Now Climate Fund, committing $100 million to restore and protect forests, wetlands, and peatlands across the world together with The Nature Conservancy. The initiative aims to scrub millions of tons of metric carbon from the atmosphere over the project’s lifespan, creating economic opportunity for thousands of people.