Walmart Purchases eCommerce Last-Mile Delivery EVs

Store employees will drive the vehicles to deliver online orders.

July 14, 2022

New Walmart LDV EV

BENTONVILLE, Ark.—Walmart has partnered with Canoo, a high-tech advanced mobility company, to purchase 4,500 electric delivery vehicles, beginning with its Lifestyle Delivery Vehicle (LDV) with the option to purchase up to 10,000 units.

The vehicles will be used to deliver online orders. Walmart employees will drive the vehicles, and Walmart could use them for Walmart GoLocal, the retailer’s delivery-as-a-service business, at a later time. Walmart plans to launch the LDV in 2023 but will first pilot the program in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex in the coming weeks.

“We’re thrilled to continue diversifying our last mile delivery fleet with Canoo’s unique and sustainably focused all-electric technology which will provide our associates with safe, ergonomic delivery vehicles,” said David Guggina, senior vice president of innovation and automation, Walmart U.S. “Today, the closest Walmart to customers is right in their pockets – it’s the Walmart app. By continuing to expand our last mile delivery fleet in a sustainable way, we’re able to provide customers and Walmart+ members with even more access to same-day deliveries while keeping costs low.”

Made for Last Mile Delivery

Canoo’s LDV is made for last-mile delivery use, with a last-mile delivery optimized cabin and customized cargo space. The LDV is engineered for high frequency stop-and-go deliveries and speedy vehicle to door drop-offs, including grocery and food/meal deliveries. Its customized interior is designed for small package delivery as well. The modular design and 120 cubic feet of cargo volume are adaptable to evolve with customer needs which contributes to a decreasing per unit investment over time.

“We are proud to have been selected by Walmart, one of the most sophisticated buyers in the world, to provide our high-tech, all-electric, American made Lifestyle Delivery Vehicle to add to their impressive logistics capabilities. Our LDV has the turning radius of a small passenger vehicle on a parking friendly, compact footprint, yet the payload and cargo space of a commercial delivery vehicle. This is the winning algorithm to seriously compete in the last mile delivery race, globally,” said Tony Aquila, investor, chairman and CEO of Canoo. 

Fulfilling Convenience

In addition to dedicated fulfillment centers, Walmart uses 3,800 of its stores, which are located within 10 miles of 90% of the U.S. population, to fulfill online orders. The retailer achieves this using a combination of Walmart associates, independent contractors driving on the Spark Driver Network, third-party delivery service providers, and in some locations, autonomous vehicles and drones, to make deliveries. Through their expansive last mile delivery network, Walmart can reach 80% of the U.S. population with same-day delivery on a growing assortment of items.

Walmart has said it is honing in on delivering convenience to its customers.

“We’ve watched in real time as people foundationally changed their shopping habits, spurred not just by a global pandemic, but by the expectation for availability to also mean convenience,” wrote Walmart. “That need for convenience led to six times the number of customers using delivery in the fourth quarter compared to pre-pandemic levels, signaling a huge change in how our customers shop.”

According to NACS’ “Last Mile Fulfillment in Convenience Retail” report, 61% of retailers are satisfied with their third-party delivery partners. Concerns include high fees, little access to consumer data, difficulties delivering age-restricted products and service and operational issues.

Read more about these challenges and what c-stores are doing to make delivery work for their businesses in “Delivering Convenience” in the December 2021 issue of NACS Magazine.