In 2021, Amazon opened a distribution center in the Grandview Business Park in Racine County, Wisconsin. The park is adjacent to Interstate 94, which runs north and south from Chicago to Milwaukee. In fact, it is just 15 miles north of the Illinois border. The company has just received approval for a plan to install 399 EV chargers at the distribution site within the next 90 days.
It’s part of a larger plan to have as many as 760 chargers there in the future. Clearly, Amazon is expecting most of the deliveries from that facility to be made by electric vehicles. How many of those will be supplied by Rivian and how many by other companies like Ford, Ram, or General Motors is unknown.
At present, according to local newspaper the Journal Times, there are a total of 900 chargers in Wisconsin and fewer than 15,500 electric vehicles. Amazon spokesperson Kate Scarpa said the company would not discuss its proposed Yorkville site for electric vehicles, including the question of how large a geographic area will be served. Amazon has several large distribution operations in and around the cities of Kenosha and Racine.
Scarpa noted that Seattle-based Amazon has a struck a deal to put 100,000 battery-powered delivery vans into service by 2030 as part of the company’s pledge to be free of carbon emissions by 2040, which has prevented it from lobbying against President Biden’s climate initiatives. Some prototype electric vans already are being tested in select markets, although Scarpa would not say if that includes Wisconsin.
“We’re working to electrify delivery stations across the country this year and over the next several years to help us support a zero-emissions fleet,” she said in a statement. Local officials estimate the delivery center will receive about 50 trucks and dispatch about 268 delivery vehicles a day.
The charging stations will not be open to the public or available for public use, Amazon representatives wrote. “The purpose of this installation is to supply electricity to charge Amazon fleet vehicles in their designated parking lots,” the proposal states. “Hours of operation will be determined by Amazon’s operating schedule.” The plan to add charging equipment at the distribution center was designed by Black & Veatch, which is located in Kansas City.
Some local officials are worried that all those electric vans will suck up all the available electrons available on the local electrical grid. It’s possible that Amazon actually anticipated that issue and has satisfied itself that the local utility company can meet the demand. In fact, since its only business is selling electricity, it is probably quite happy to have the extra revenue.
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