Arrival is a UK start-up company with the aim of providing zero-emission solutions for city vehicle use. The company uses what they call microfactories to assemble each vehicle. Here we have the somewhat retro (or traditional, depending on your perspective) looking Arrival Van.
The simply named Arrival Van reminds me particularly of a van that used to drive around my neighbourhood as a child; the back would open and a smiley chap called Reg would appear at a shop counter inside and offer sweets and ‘lucky bags’ for the pre-Internet generation (we clearly hadn’t seen Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at this point). Arrival have taken a well-proven van shape and design and given it a modern twist. Like the name, the van is a no-fuss solution – if it isn’t broke…
The company uses modular architecture to enable clients to specify use based on dimensions, load space and battery power. The result is, they say, an electric van that features class leading volume and payload capacity. Of course, this can reduce the overall footprint of owning a fleet of such vans where space might be tight.
The Arrival Van’s EV chassis is built from aluminium while the body panels are made from a plastic composite material. Not only does this pretty much rule out rust, it also helps to keep the weight of the van down – an important factor for a commercial vehicle when you factor in potentially heavy payloads. Panels are bolted and even bonded together – and making less use of welding potentially speeds up repair and manufacture, as well as keeping costs down. Arrival even suggests that these body composite panels are more resistant to denting having more ‘bounce back’, and as part of the modular system, are quite easy to just slot out and replace compared to a standard panel van. The panels are created with the chosen colour injected into the material from the start, so any scratches are going to be less visible as the colour runs all the way through. Arrival even makes its own fibreglass sheets that are used in the construction.
The new EV panel van is due to be manufactured at a brand new factory in Bicester from autumn 2022, having been designed at the company’s R&D in Banbury. Arrival say that they hope to be able to create 200 new jobs in the process. Trials of the van will commence this summer with a select few companies – including delivery giant, UPS.
Even before trials begin, the company looks set to be a success, having already chalked up £870 million-worth of orders. This means that Arrival now plans to manufacture around 100,000 units in the debut year – and with additional factories planned for the future, things are certainly looking bright for Arrival.
Arrival has as a company been quite shrewd; the Arrival Van will become one of the first large EV vans for sale, thus Arrival is able to supply pre-orders in a much needed sector, as commercial companies try to stay up to speed with fast moving Government targets relating to decreasing emissions on our roads.
The Arrival van, being modular, can be many things. The base model is a 67kWh van with a range of 112 miles. Obviously this might prove problematic for longer haul deliveries, but for navigating our towns and cities locally, the van could prove to be a godsend. If 112 miles is just not enough, the next option is a pair of mid-range versions with 89kWh and 111kWh respectively: the former pushes up the range to 149 miles while the latter increases it to 180 miles. Meanwhile, the top performing 120kWh Arrival Van has a respectable range of 211 miles. The 67kWh base model will feature a front axle motor, while the more powerful models will get a further motor at the rear axle. Unusually, a 2-speed EV transmission is favoured over the more common 1-speed variant.
The interior is just as you might hope for with the demanding standards us humans expect these days for vehicles (remember when a heated steering wheel was a high-end luxury?). Digital rear mirrors, climate control and a centre mounted infotainment system, along with lane keeping assist and blind spot monitors.
Thinking ahead, and as other manufacturers catch up, Arrival is confident that their in-house team can continue to undercut many of its potential rivals and stay viable long-term. Patrick Bion, Chief of Product for Arrival says that the company is already well underway in planning an electric bus and there might even be an Arrival car on the horizon too. Watch this space.
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