Just over a year ago, Amazon (AMZN -1.11%) CEO Jeff Bezos announced the ambitious purchase of 100,000 electric delivery vans from electric vehicle start-up Rivian. On Thursday, the company unveiled the new custom-designed van in a video.

However, don't expect to see them in your neighborhood anytime soon. The first of the vans won't hit the road until 2021, and the initial fleet of 10,000 electric vehicles isn't scheduled to start delivering packages until 2022. 

A fuel gauge from an electric vehicle.

Image source: Getty Images.

Going green

Amazon is one of the highest-profile signatories to The Climate Pledge, a group of companies voluntarily agreeing to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2040. For companies with large vehicle fleets, replacing existing fossil fuel-powered trucks and vans with renewable energy-powered vehicles will be key to achieving such a goal. 

Although the 100,000-van Rivian order -- scheduled to be fully delivered by 2030 -- is the largest electric vehicle purchase Amazon has made to date, it's not the only one. In August, the company announced it was ordering 1,800 electric vans from Daimler's Mercedes-Benz. It has also been using hydrogen fuel cell-powered forklifts by Plug Power (PLUG 1.11%) in its warehouses for years. 

Truck race

Private company Rivian is best known for its efforts to develop an all-electric pickup truck, the R1T. Although the R1T has been overshadowed by splashier headlines for Tesla's (TSLA -1.06%) Cybertruck and Nikola's (NKLA -3.26%) Badger, Rivian may beat its rivals to market, with plans to begin deliveries of its truck in mid-2021, compared to late 2021 for the Cybertruck and late 2022 for the Badger.

Other companies have also been competing with Rivian in the delivery vehicle market, with Plug Power partnering with Colorado-based Lightning Systems to develop a Class 6 delivery truck, and Tesla and Nikola both working on electric semi trucks.