Then earlier this year, Hyundai and Kia announced that the two Korean companies were investing a massive €100m in the electric vehicle start up.
And now it seems everyone has heard of Arrival following the announcement from UPS that the delivery company has ordered a fleet of 10,000 Arrival Generation 2 Electric Vehicles to be rolled out over 2020-2024.
There is an option on the table for a further 10,000 vehicles, too.
The vehicle purchase is part of an equity investment in Arrival.
UPS, which first partnered with Arrival in 2016, says the vehicles will accelerate its transition to a zero emissions fleet.
Juan Perez, chief information and engineering officer, UPS said:
“UPS continues to build an integrated fleet of electric vehicles, combined with innovative, large-scale fleet charging technology. As mega-trends like population growth, urban migration, and e-commerce continue to accelerate, we recognize the need to work with partners around the world to solve both road congestion and pollution challenges for our customers and the communities we serve.
“Electric vehicles form a cornerstone to our sustainable urban delivery strategies. Taking an active investment role in Arrival enables UPS to collaborate in the design and production of the world’s most advanced electric delivery vehicles.”
The Arrival vehicles feature ‘skateboard’ chassis and can be configured in a variety of sizes. The vans can then be assembled in microfactories where demand is required at low cost. Arrival says the cost of their vans is equivalent or lower than a conventional diesel commercial vehicle, but with all the running cost benefits of being electric.
‘Not Thinking Like An OEM’
Deep Bhogal, chief of product at Arrival, says that key to the firm’s success has been “not thinking like an OEM”. In a video interview on the Arrival website, Bhogal says:
“We’re not just another OEM and we’re not just creating products for the sake of creating products. But really thinking about every piece of the pie rather than just pushing a ton of vehicles out there.”
There are more than 300 million traditionally fuelled vans and trucks on the road, making the commercial vehicle segment a major contributor to transport emissions. The rise of e-commerce has contributed to this increase; van mileage in the UK has grown 56% since 2000 says Arrival. The company adds:
“The opportunity to significantly impact climate change, coupled with predictable routes and overnight depot charging, make commercial vehicles perfectly suited to seamlessly switch to electric.”
Denis Sverdlov, who is the founder and CEO of Arrival, added:
“UPS has been a strong strategic partner of Arrival, providing valuable insight to how electric delivery vans are used on the road and how they can be optimised for drivers. Together our teams have been creating bespoke electric vehicles, based on our flexible skateboard platforms, that meet the end-to-end needs of UPS from driving, loading/unloading, depot and back office operations. We are pleased that today’s investment and vehicle order creates even closer ties between our two companies.”
In addition to the stake in Arrival, UPS says it is investing in autonomous ground vehicles, and will soon commence testing with Waymo to autonomously pick up packages on a frequent basis from a ‘The UPS Store’ location in Arizona. The packages will be delivered to a nearby UPS sortation hub. UPS says its customers will benefit from faster movement of their goods into and through the UPS Smart Global Logistics Network.