UK-based EV startup Arrival is working with Uber to develop an electric car that will be “specially built” for driving. Arrival plans to put the car into production by the end of 2023 and says it will not be exclusive to Uber. Instead, the startup says the goal is to create an affordable vehicle that will appeal to the millions of driving drivers around the world.
This is another declaration of confidence in Arrival, which just became a listed company in March after merging with a special acquisition company or SPAC. Founded in 2015, Arrival also develops electric vans (with UPS as a customer) and buses. It also has the backing of Hyundai and Kia.
Arrival and Uber released a handful of reproductions of the new car̵
What is being teased in the images that were released is not a radical rethinking of how a car should be on the inside – in fact, compared to the concept cars we see every year at car shows around the world, it is quite familiar. There is a large horizontal screen mounted on the dashboard, similar to what is in the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y (and the upcoming Model S and Model X update), and the steering wheel is also very similar to that found in a Tesla, with only two scroll wheel and no driver display.
But there are a few subtle differences that Arrival says could improve the experience for both drivers and passengers. The driver’s seat is ergonomically designed to ease the physical strain of sitting in a car for hours. The front passenger seat can be folded to create more legroom. There is a bench seat at the rear, making it easier to get in and out of the vehicle. And there are small lighted cubbies and railings on the inside of each door.
The goal is to make “hundreds of small improvements, changes and tweaks to the design that may not have been applied before,” according to Tom Elvidge, Arrival’s senior vice president of mobility.
Electric vehicles can make a lot of sense in a driving hygiene setting. They tend to have fewer moving parts than incinerators and therefore require less maintenance and upkeep. They are also inherently in line with the zero-emission zones that have been adopted in cities across Europe, as well as the broader ban on internal combustion that is on the horizon. But electric vehicles are currently more expensive than the cheapest combustion or hybrid cars.
The goal is to design an affordable vehicle from the start, says Elvidge, although Arrival believes it can greatly reduce the cost of manufacturing electric vehicles by using so-called “micro factories” or highly automated facilities with small footprints where they plan to build. its vehicles.
Arrival has not yet proven that the strategy can work. Like many of its SPAC peers, it is still in the development phase and has not yet sold any production vehicles. Uber has quietly encountered a number of launched electric vehicles over the past few years, but never hit any deals, although it has recently split a number of money-losing divisions, such as the one focusing on autonomous vehicles and the one dedicated to flying taxis. The partnership with Arrival may therefore be a sign that it is ready to try to carry out its promise to make 100 percent of its rides happen in electric vehicles in the US, Canada and Europe by 2030 – a goal Uber said that it would achieve by collaborating with a number of companies across the transport industry.