Electric vehicle technology is moving at a blistering pace. You can either spend heavily on developing your own, or you can invest in proven technology. The vehicle class with the most urgent demand in Europe is the electric commercial vehicle. This demand is driven by increasingly tough emissions standards there.
The Hyundai Motor Group has just invested $110 million in an electric commercial vehicle start-up. This partnership agreement is with Arrival, a UK-based outfit that was only started in 2015. Despite its youth, Arrival has already achieved Goldilocks status – when a start-up’s value exceeds $1 billion.
The reason for Arrival’s success is that they can build electric commercial vehicles at the same cost as conventional internal combustion engine vehicles, their so-called Generation-2. Up to now, EVs have carried a significant price premium.
One of the ways Arrival is able to save costs is by using their ‘skateboard’ which contains the drivetrain and batteries. This standard platform can be scaled up or down to produce an endless variety of vehicles to suit every need. So a 3-ton or 9-ton van will use the same platform, just scaled up or down, bigger motors or fewer batteries.
Another way is that they produce their vehicles in decentralised 10 000 square metre micro-factories. Although based in England, it has a significant presence in the USA, Germany, Israel, Russia and the Netherlands.
Arrival has also established itself as a leader in self-driving commercial vehicles, still new technology, but with tremendous potential.
Hyundai intends producing small to medium-sized vans, as well as purpose-built vehicles for various logistics operators.
One logistics company that has recognised the benefits of Arrival’s technology is the giant courier firm UPS. It has just placed an order for 10 000 Generation-2 vehicles to be rolled out in Europe, Britain and the USA before 2024. UPS is one of the leading companies with a stated aim of reaching zero emissions.
According to Hyundai’s head of research and development, Albert Biermann, their partnership will give Hyundai a significant footprint in the electric commercial market in Europe and worldwide. It will also accelerate the brand’s transition from automaker to mobility provider.
The world of cars and mobility is changing at an incredible pace and Hyundai is right up in the crest of this wave. You can keep up with these developments and new model news by following our blog.