Banbury-based electric vehicle manufacturer Arrival has said that it will build trucks to “last for 20 years” as it believes that changing a commercial vehicle every three years “is wrong”.
Arrival hit the headlines last month when Royal Mail said it was starting a trial of nine of its fully electric trucks: a combination of 3.5-, 6- and 7.5-tonnes that will operate out of Royal Mail’s Mount Pleasant depot in London.
Arrival, formerly known as Charge Automotive, started in January 2015 and currently employs some 170 staff. Arrival has signed a lease on a new factory in Banbury, Oxfordshire, which is set to open this autumn, where it is looking to produce over 50,000 vehicles a year using only artificial intelligence robots.
Arrival is the brainchild of its chief executive Denis Sverdlov – formerly a deputy minister in the Russian Ministry of Communications and Mass Media and also the founder of London-based investment firm Kinetik.
Sverdlov spoke to delegates at the BT Fleet Solutions Industry Forum in London last week about the goals of the company – and how it wants to change the world of commercial vehicles.
“We believe that commercial vehicles will bring the biggest change,” he said, talking about the environmental and efficiency benefits of electrification, “that is the reason why we are focusing on commercial vehicles as the number one product for us.”
“What stops adoption now? We believe that the biggest thing is the price. Our target from day one was that the price of this vehicle must be the same as a conventional vehicle,” he said.
Royal Mail said that between the lightweight materials used to build the vehicles and Arrival’s electric power technology, the vehicles cost 50% less to run than its current fleet.
“There is a lack of innovation in the market – the truck looks the same,” Sverdlov said of current truck models. “It has the same metal, plastic and glass, but is twice as expensive. That is the reality we have.
“We have built a vehicle that will last for 20 years, because we believe that the idea of changing a vehicle every three years is wrong. When you buy a new vehicle every three years you are paying for glass, plastic and metal. It is a commercial vehicle, it should work.
“And when the battery technology changes we can just take the old battery out and replace it with a new one. This means that your cost of ownership is much, much, lower, and you are not paying things like congestion charge etc,” Sverdlov added.