The British electric vehicle developer Arrival has announced its second ‘microfactory’ in the USA. This will be built in Charlotte in the state of North Carolina and is scheduled to start production in the third quarter of 2022.
This second microfactory has a different purpose than the first: the electric transporters for UPS are to be manufactured here first. Arrival’s other microfactory in the US will be located in York County in the state of South Carolina, and is scheduled to produce electric buses from the 4th quarter of 2021.
For the second plant, Arrival says it will create more than 250 new jobs in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. The company says it is investing 41.2 million dollars, the equivalent of about 34.5 million euros, in the plant at the Meadow Oak Commerce Center near Charlotte International Airport. The capacity of the microfactory is to be up to 10,000 vans per year.
The ratio of production capacity to investment is made possible by Arrival’s philosophy. This envisages a vertical integration of hardware and software, which should not only enable the vehicles to compete with internal combustion engines in terms of overall costs, but also to be built particularly cheaply with their design. Another advantage of microfactories, he said, is their small footprint.
“Arrival is excited to expand its presence in Charlotte and we look forward to playing an even bigger role in contributing to the local community and bringing onboard the region’s local talent,” said Michael Ableson, CEO of Arrival Automotive. “Our newest Microfactory will be producing two different classes of EV Vans for our US customers, expanding the zero-emissions options for fleet operators and accelerating the mass adoption of electric vehicles.”
Major customer UPS is also full of praise. “At UPS, we’re laser focused on finding operational efficiencies,” says Luke Wake, vice president of maintenance and engineering for UPS Corporate Automotive. “Establishing factories that can quickly serve both the European and North American markets is a masterful use of logistics. We can’t wait to see UPS’s new electric vehicles roll out of this factory as this is also one of many paths UPS is taking to reduce its CO2 emissions.”
UPS had ordered 10,000 electric transporters from Arrival in January 2020, about two weeks after Hyundai-Kia invested in Arrival. The British company had moved into its production plant in Bichester in March 2020 – this is still a traditional plant, not a microfactory. However, Arrival has only rented this plant to build the UPS delivery vans for the European markets.
Also in March 2020, it was said that microfactories near Los Angeles and New York were planned for the large UPS order – now it has become North Carolina and the electric bus microfactory is being built in South Carolina. Whether the announced microfactories in California and around New York will still follow is not clear from Arrival’s current announcement.
A few weeks ago, Arrival also presented the current version of its electric delivery vehicle and gave some technical data. The near-production version differs significantly from the renderings shown in 2020.
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