Why the Christmas sleigh is going electric

Online Christmas purchases could be delivered by electric vans, motorbikes and bikes in future as more organisations ditch petrol vehicles for greener technology.

Online retail giant Amazon became the latest company to add more electric vehicles to its fleet this week, announcing plans to put 1000 electric vans into 100 US cities before the end-of-year rush as part of its goal for deliveries to be net-zero by 2040.

The target, which will also see existing petrol vehicles replaced in Australia, comes after Australia Post committed to adding 500 extra electric delivery vehicles and 17 trucks into its fleet this year, and just a week after the launch of the three-wheeled eTukTuk for couriers.

Amazon announced its electric vehicle plans at the Delivering the Future event in Boston, revealing a goal to put 100,000 electric vans from partner Rivian Automotive on to roads by 2030.

More than 1000 electric vans will be delivering goods in US cities including Texas, New York and Boston this year, the company said, eliminating "millions of metric tonnes of carbon per year".

Amazon last mile vice-president Mai Le said taking petrol vehicles out of the company's delivery network would have a greater impact than replacing typical vehicles as "we're on the road every day".

"It takes a lot of carbon off the road," she said.

"I would love for us to have more and more (electric vehicles) but they can only manufacture so many. I would like for them to progress faster but it just depends on each of the manufacturers."

Amazon's first electric vans, custom-made for the retailer by Rivian, will feature a long range, automatic locking, heated seating, and large in-vehicle displays.

The company's existing electric vehicles have already made more than 500 million deliveries, and Rivian chief growth officer Jiten Behl said a "ramp up in production" would put more on the roads soon.

"Fleet electrification is essential to reaching the world's zero-emissions goal," he said.

Kangaroo Logistics owner Julieta Dennis said drivers had responded positively to Amazon's electric vans so far and did not need to charge vehicles on the road.

"We don't use all its battery," she said. "It typically comes back with around 30 to 50 per cent charge, depending where the route is for the day."

Amazon's US petrol and diesel delivery fleet yet to be replaced by electric vehicles includes more than 30,000 branded vehicles and 20,000 trailers.

The company also committed $1.5 billion to "decarbonise" its delivery fleet in Europe, and Ms Lai said it would go "market by market" to meet its net-zero goal in other countries, including Australia.

"Our goal is to increase all kinds of electric delivery vehicles, whether that is bikes, scooters, or anything," she said.

"We're trying all kinds of different technologies and delivery methods to see how we can do this."

Australia Post currently operates the country's largest fleet of electric delivery vehicles, with a mix of 4100 three-wheeled vehicles, electric bikes, and three electric trucks.

The company planned to add another 17 Fuso eCanter trucks to its fleet this year, as well as another 500 three-wheeled electric delivery vehicles.

Australian state and territory governments have also committed to electric vehicle targets for their fleets, and the federal government has a target of 75 per cent of all new vehicle leases and purchases to be electric by 2025.

The reporter travelled to Boston as a guest of Amazon.