UPS’ 10,000 Electric Truck Investment

By Mike Osenga03 February 2020

The global delivery company UPS, which has been casting a wide net in evaluating alternative vehicles, has apparently become the most recent company to invest in the UK truck start-up manufacturer, Arrival.

UPS, in recent years, has also announced e-truck programs with Daimler, Tesla and Workhorse.

As part of its investment UPS will reportedly order up to 10,000 purpose-built electric vehicles from Arrival. The initial 10,000 vehicles will be rolled out in the UK, Europe and North America from 2020 to 2024. The value of that order was not specifically announced beyond saying it was worth “hundreds of millions of euros each year.”

UPS has the option to purchase a further order of 10,000 vehicles during this period.

Founded in 2015, Arrival is headquartered in London, UK with offices in Germany, Netherlands, Israel, Russia and the US. The company reportedly employs over 800 people.

This is UPS’ second investment in Arrival following an initial investment in 2016. Earlier this year, Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp. announced a €100M investment in Arrival. That announcement said the investment marks the start of a strategic partnership between the automakers to jointly accelerate the adoption of commercial electric vehicles globally. The vehicles will be built using Arrival’s assembly strategy of using low capital, low footprint micro-factories.

The launch of Arrival’s Generation 2 electric vehicles offered UPS “compelling commercial and environmental benefits to make a seamless and cost effective transition to a zero emissions fleet,” Arrival said.

“UPS has been a strong strategic partner of Arrival, providing valuable insight to how electric delivery vans are used on the road and how they can be optimized for drivers. Together our teams have been creating bespoke electric vehicles, based on our flexible skateboard platforms, that meet the end-to-end needs of UPS from driving, loading/unloading, depot and back office operations. We are pleased that today’s investment and vehicle order creates even closer ties between our two companies,” said Denis Sverdlov, founder and CEO at Arrival.

“Our investment and partnership with Arrival is directly aligned with UPS’s transformation strategy, led by the deployment of cutting-edge technologies. These vehicles will be among the world’s most advanced package delivery vehicles, redefining industry standards for electric, connected and intelligent vehicle solutions,” said Carlton Rose, president of UPS Global Fleet Maintenance & Engineering.

Arrival said it has developed components, sustainable materials and software to customize both vehicles and operations of commercial fleet owners. Arrival said it’s “skateboard” platforms enable the creation of vehicles in any weight, type, size and shape to match customer requirements, which are then deployed close to areas of demand across the globe from Arrival’s micro-factories.

Less is apparently known about Arrival’s powertrain technology. Hyundai’s announcement mentions the skateboard vehicle platform as a modular component structure, which incorporates a battery pack, electric motor and driveline components.

Scalable to accommodate multiple vehicle types, the platform can reportedly be used to accelerate vehicle development to meet diverse customer needs. Previous announcements of Arrival truck programs have mentioned 3, 5, 6 and 7.5 ton truck models with battery power with ranges from 100 to 150 miles. Other reports have mentioned a 300 mile range for a 9300 lb. payload truck.

As “plug and play” is also apparently part of Arrival’s strategy, BlackBerry Ltd. and Arrival Ltd. announced in November that Arrival’s commercial vehicles will be powered by BlackBerry QNX technology.

As part of the agreement, BlackBerry will license its BlackBerry QNX technology to Arrival, including its QNX SDP 7.0 real-time operating system to serve as the safe and secure foundation for the ADAS features within the company’s autonomous-ready commercial vehicle platform. Prototypes of the first full version of the electric delivery vans powered by BlackBerry are set to hit the roads in early 2020.

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