June 12, 2021

Uber partners with the startup Arrival to design an electric car dedicated to passenger transport

The electric vehicle company Arrival is building with Uber a car that will be designed to meet the needs of the VTC sector (Editor’s note: Transport cars with driver). Uber will consult with its drivers on the creation of the Arrival Car, which is expected to go into production in the third quarter of 2023.

VTC drivers usually opt for a Toyota Prius, Honda Civic or Hyundai Sonata as their work vehicle. But Arrival, which became the largest listed company in UK history when it went public on the Nasdaq last March, estimates that the vehicles currently in use were not designed to travel the 50,000 km per year accumulated on average by Uber drivers.

Read also – 10 promising electric cars arriving on the French market in 2021

Arrival hopes its latest vehicle will help encourage some of the 30 million drivers working in the area to switch to an electrified model. When designing the car, the company will focus on affordable manufacturing, durability of the vehicle, and ease of use.

Tom Elvidge, Arrival’s product manager and former Uber executive in Europe, said the new vehicle will be at least as inexpensive as the gasoline and diesel equivalents that serve the industry.

“We think we’re pretty well positioned to do that, because when we started looking at some of the functional requirements for a vehicle like this, it actually had a lot in common with a commercial vehicle,” said Tom Elvidge. to Insider.

“We believe the decision to switch to an electric vehicle shouldn’t come with a price hike, so you shouldn’t have to pay more to hit the road in an electric bus or electric car.”

The Arrival Car will first be launched in the UK, US and EU

The interior of the prototype Arrival Car cockpit. Arrival

The car represents Arrival’s first foray into the non-commercial vehicle industry. To date, the company has made deals to sell electric buses to local communities and vans to leading companies, including UPS.

Arrival and Uber said they would “explore a strategic relationship” in key markets, including the UK, US and the European Union. To date, Uber, which does not purchase vehicles on behalf of its drivers, has not reached an agreement to purchase Arrival’s eventual vehicle. Instead, the decision will ultimately be made by the drivers themselves. That said, Tom Elvidge hasn’t totally ruled out the possibility that Uber will buy these types of cars in the future.

“It’s a very similar relationship to what we have with UPS in developing the Arrival Van,” he said. “They have been a key partner for a number of years now, and it has been so important and valuable to both parties that we have refined the method to strike the right balance between functionality and affordability.”

Read also – Why Amazon, Apple and Alphabet want to win the self-driving car battle

Arrival’s product manager also ruled out the car being self-driving, saying it will be designed specifically for VTC drivers. In the UK last week the government took a first step towards introducing autonomous vehicles on UK roads by approving the use of automated lane keeping systems – or ALKS – on low-speed motorways .

Tom Elvidge also said that the ideal car for VTC drivers is “probably quite a distance” from the vehicles in use today.

The cars will be built in Arrival’s micro-factories, which are much smaller than traditional auto factories and are designed to be built as close as possible to where the demand for a vehicle is.

Arrival is now valued at over $ 13 billion

James Heywood, Uber’s regional general manager for Northern and Eastern Europe, said the company had raised more than £ 135million (€ 156million) as part of its cuts plan emissions to help drivers make the switch to EVs.

“As our cities open up, we have the opportunity to make sure that urban transportation is cleaner than ever,” he said. “Our goal now is to encourage drivers to use this money to help them switch to an electric vehicle, and our partnership with Arrival will help us achieve that goal.”

Arrival went public in March 2021 through a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) called CIIC Merger Corp. The deal valued Arrival at more than $ 13 billion (€ 10.82 billion), making it the highest listing in history for a UK company, according to Dealogic.

Arrival is headed by Russian tycoon Denis Sverdlov, who still owns around three-quarters of the company. CIIC was created by Peter Cuneo, who previously ran Marvel.

Version originale : Michael Cogley/Insider

Read also – Apple enters into talks with Hyundai to develop an electric vehicle