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Bloomberg reports that Amazon "is buying 1,800 electric delivery vans from Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz, the retailer’s biggest commitment to date to cut the carbon footprint of its delivery operations in Europe.

"The deal, for the German automaker’s eSprinter and eVito models, will be complete by the end of the year, Amazon said in a statement on Friday. It comes two years after Amazon agreed to buy 20,000 conventionally fueled Mercedes Sprinter vans to help build its package delivery operations in the U.S."

The story goes on:  "Amazon, which is increasingly delivering shipments with its own staff or contractors instead of relying on major carriers, last year announced a deal to buy 100,000 custom-built electric vans made by Rivian Automotive Inc. The electric truck startup expects to start production next year and complete the order by 2030. The Mercedes purchase makes it clear Amazon will also seek vehicles from other automakers to remove planet-warming greenhouse gases from its delivery fleet."

There is a piece today in the New York Times about the broader trend:

"The rush to electrify, prompted by concern about climate change, a chance to offset growing delivery costs, government regulation and big advances in battery technology, is occurring as the coronavirus pandemic has caused a huge spike in package delivery. UPS, for instance, was delivering up to 21.1 million packages a day in the second quarter, a nearly 23 percent jump in average daily U.S. volume from a year earlier. Avery Vise, vice president for trucking at FTR Transportation Intelligence, said big increases in delivery truck orders hadn’t shown up yet, but they’re very likely coming."

KC's View:

The part of this that really intrigues me is the passage about how Amazon "is increasingly delivering shipments with its own staff or contractors instead of relying on major carriers.

On my street in Connecticut, there is a steady parade of delivery vehicles - FedEx, UPS, USPS - making the rounds multiple times a day.  (Not just to my house, despite the recent crack by an MNB reader describing me as a "know-it-all retail analyst who has an orgasm every time an Amazon package arrives."  I live at the end of a cul-de-sac which has about two dozen houses on it, and everybody seems to be using e-commerce on a regular, even frequent, basis.)

But the pic above is of one vehicle that seems to be showing up at least daily … and the driver has mentioned to me that he anticipates being here more since Amazon wants to do more of its own deliveries.  In fact, this fellow is a high school teacher who is worried about going back to school, and when I talked to him he was considering just doing Amazon deliveries for the coming year because it seemed safer and potentially more lucrative.