U.S. wireless carrier AT&T (NYSE:T) has entered into a pilot program with electric vehicle startup Rivian (NASDAQ:RIVN) to explore strategies for reducing costs, lowering carbon emissions, and enhancing safety. This collaboration marks Rivian’s first deal following the termination of its exclusivity agreement with major shareholder Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) last month, which opens avenues for additional customers.
AT&T anticipates the inclusion of Rivian electric commercial vans, R1T pickup trucks, and R1S sport utility vehicles in its fleet starting early in 2024, according to a joint statement issued by the companies. However, specific details regarding the quantity of vehicles to be purchased and the financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
For AT&T, the move aligns with its ongoing initiatives to transition its commercial fleet to vehicles utilizing alternative fuels such as compressed natural gas and hybrid electric technologies. Hardmon Williams, Senior Vice President of AT&T Connected Solutions, emphasized the significance of the pilot program, stating, “This pilot is another important step in our ongoing efforts toward sustainability, reducing our carbon footprint and embracing a cleaner future for our operations.”
The adoption of electric vehicles aligns with environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) objectives and emission reduction targets, prompting companies to shift towards zero-emission fleets. While this trend is gaining momentum, concerns about high-interest rates affecting the affordability of electric vehicles, which are generally more expensive than traditional gas-powered counterparts, have raised worries about a potential slowdown in demand.
Rivian, however, has expressed optimism about the interest and demand for its vehicles beyond its previous exclusivity arrangement with Amazon. The company declined to disclose additional potential customers in Thursday’s announcement. Rivian remains committed to fulfilling its order for 100,000 vans to Amazon by 2030, with Amazon already reporting the deployment of 10,000 of these vehicles across the U.S. and Europe.
Last month, Rivian, based in Irvine, California, increased its overall production forecast for 2023 to 54,000 units. The collaboration with AT&T signifies another milestone for Rivian as it expands its customer base and advances its presence in the electric vehicle market.
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