Amazon, the world's biggest e-commerce retailer, will invest more than €1 billion ($972 million) to electrify its European transport network as it hastens its push to achieve net zero emissions within the next two decades.
The amount will be invested over the next five years, with more than £300 million ($330m) set for the UK alone, Amazon said on Monday.
Amazon currently has more than 3,000 electric vans delivering packages to customers across Europe and, with the investment, expects to grow its fleet to more than 10,000 by 2025.
The move will accelerate the Seattle-based company's goal of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2040, while also supporting innovation in zero-emission vehicles and encouraging the use of public charging infrastructure, it said.
“Our transportation network is one of the most challenging areas of our business to decarbonise, and to achieve net-zero carbon will require a substantial and sustained investment,” said Amazon chief executive Andy Jassy.
“Deploying thousands of electric vans, long-haul trucks and bikes will help us shift further away from traditional fossil fuels — and, hopefully, further encourage transportation and automotive industries in Europe and around the world to continue scaling and innovating, as we will have to work together to reach our climate goals.”
Governments worldwide are pivoting towards clean energy projects to cut emissions as they adopt net zero targets in the coming decades.
The US, the world’s largest economy, the UK and the 27-member EU bloc plan to become carbon neutral by 2050, while China, the world’s second-largest economy, aims to reach the target by 2060.
To achieve these goals, many countries are encouraging the adoption of electric cars as they seek to narrow emissions from the transport sector, which is a key emitter.
Electric vehicle sales doubled last year on an annual basis to a record 6.6 million, with about 10 per cent of global car sales being electric, the International Energy Agency said in May.
Overall, the number of EVs on the world’s roads by the end of 2021 stood at about 16.5 million, triple the amount in 2018, the agency said.
Meanwhile, EV shipments are forecast to exceed 10 million units in 2022 and hit about 58 million by 2030, according to a study by Counterpoint Research.
Amazon also launched micro-mobility hubs — smaller, centrally-located delivery stations — in more than 20 cities across Europe, including London, and said it planned to double that figure by the end of 2025.
The hubs will enable the company to operate new delivery methods, such as e-cargo bikes and on-foot deliveries, and help to take traditional delivery vans off the road, the company said.
Amazon also said it will invest in “thousands of chargers” across its European centres.
Another focus for the company's investment will be electric heavy goods vehicles (EHGV).
“Long-haul transportation is a hard-to-decarbonise sector due to the size and weight of the trucks and trailers, and the long distances they need to travel,” the company said.
“EHGV [is] a promising technology but production and charging infrastructure availability are limited.”
Amazon, which has five EHGVs on the road in the UK, aims to have 20 in Germany by the end of this year.
As part of its latest investment, the company expects to purchase more than 1,500 EHGVs for its European fleet, including more than 700 in the UK in the coming years, it said.
Amazon will also build “hundreds of specialised fast chargers” across its European centres, allowing the company to charge the vehicles in about two hours.
The retailer, which aims to power its operations with 100 per cent renewable energy by 2025, now has more than 100 renewable energy projects across Europe, including 30 solar and wind farm projects in the UK, it said.