Arrival bets on microfactories to bring eLCVs to the next level
London-based EV startup Arrival has created a lot of buzz since its inception in 2015. The company has received funding from Hyundai-Kia and BlackRock, among others. In March, it debuted on Nasdaq with a $13.5-billion valuation – the highest debut ever for a UK-based company.
Arrival’s eLCV will have a 4x2 axle configuration, a payload of around two tons and a range approximating 300 km.
‘Microfactories’ leading the way
Although there are many eLCV players setting their eyes on rapid growth, Arrival in particular has a competitive advantage in terms of manufacturing cost, with their eLCVs set to be competitive in price with comparable ICE alternatives, and substantially lower than similar EVs. How? While other EV manufacturers are going big – like Tesla with its gigafactories – Arrival is opting for smaller production units and a decentralised manufacturing model with its concept of ‘microfactories’.
Using lightweight robotics that fit into existing warehouses, these microfactories are designed to be set up quickly and cheaply close to Arrival’s major markets. Each one can produce up to 10,000 eLCVs (or 1,000 e-buses) per year with a workforce of no more than 250. Many of Arrival’s components were designed in-house, further lowering costs. One microfactory for eLCVs is already being set up in Bicester (UK), with two more planned in the US. By 2024, Arrival plans to have 31 microfactories in operation around the world.
Customer trials for Arrival’s eLCV are slated for this summer, with the company’s e-bus trials scheduled for the end of the year. The eLCV will go into production from mid-2022. Arrival has recently secured a major order from UPS for 10,000 eLCVs, which will go into production in 2022. UPS has an option to purchase an additional 10,000 vans. Arrival says it already has $1.2 billion worth of orders on its books.