- arrival plans to build its second u.s. microfactory in north carolina, to produce 10,000 ups electric delivery vans. its first, in south carolina, is intended to build electric buses.
- the ups order for 10,000 electric vans contrasts with the u.s. postal service's recent announcement that only 10 percent of its all-new fleet will be electric.
- arrival has received a large investment from hyundai and kia, with which it intends to collaborate on developing evs.
u.k.-based startup arrival, which has signed a contract with ups for 10,000 delivery vans, has announced plans to open a second microfactory in the united states in the charlotte, north carolina, area not too far from its first one, in york county, south carolina. the new plant will produce electric delivery vans for the united parcel service (ups), the company said.
the startup company last year shared images of its toaster-shaped electric van, which will be based on a skateboard platform of arrival's own design and will have a range of about 150 miles on a full charge. the vans will be aimed at last-mile delivery rather than interstate travel between ups hubs and will feature composite bodies. the vans were designed with a lot of input from ups, of course, but they could be used by a number of other logistics giants and even smaller businesses that do daily deliveries in a set geographic area.
this new microfactory will start building the vans late next year. the tactic behind arrival's microfactories, as opposed to a conventional assembly plant, is to reduce costs via a new cell-based assembly technique versus a traditional production line. in this manner arrival says it will reduce production footprint and cost while being able to produce different vehicles from its lineup on a smaller stage—and will thus make them more affordable for end users as well. the microfactory approach is also designed for the company to achieve profitability at an earlier stage, due to the decreased capital required to get a site up and running.
"our newest microfactory will be producing two different classes of ev vans for our u.s. customers, expanding the zero-emissions options for fleet operators and accelerating the mass adoption of electric vehicles," said michael ableson, ceo of arrival automotive. "we are pleased to increase our investment as we extend our partnership with the city of charlotte and believe we will continue to see strong demand for our vehicles as more operators transition to electric."
plans for the ups vans differ sharply from the recently announced decision by the u.s. postal service to acquire gasoline-engined delivery vehicles from wisconsin-based oshkosh defense, ones that can be reconfigured from a gasoline drivetrain to an electric one. of course, the 10,000 electric vans that ups plans to buy won't replace its entire fleet all at once, so ups will rely on many other types of vehicles for a while, including for last-mile delivery. but it is nevertheless advancing in the direction of zero-emissions vehicles earlier than the postal service.
"we’re excited by this significant milestone that will enable ups to economically deploy electric vehicles throughout our global operations at an increasing pace," said luke wake, vice-president of maintenance and engineering at ups corporate automotive. "we can’t wait to see ups’s new electric vehicles roll out of this factory as this is also one of many paths ups is taking to reduce its co2 emissions."
almost a year ago arrival received a nearly $120 million investment from hyundai and kia, which includes an agreement to develop commercial vehicles together with arrival. the announcement of a second u.s. microfactory coincides with the startup's plans to go public—as well as the new administration's indication it will champion the zero-emission vehicle.