Arrival remains bullish about the prospects of its electric-powered light commercial vehicle, and the disruptive impact its technology-led approach will have in the broader market.
Aiming a shot at its larger, conventional rivals, Matt Key, chief of business development at the Banbury-based start up, said: “The world we live in, especially within the commercial vehicle sector, is behind what’s technically possible.”
“Overpricing is what makes electric vehicles niche. Manufacturers claim there’s no demand for them. But operators are interested until they find out how expensive they are compared with conventional designs,” he told delegates at yesterday’s (8 November) Freight in the City Expo.
Arrival, previously Charge Automotive, made headlines earlier this year when it revealed Royal Mail was conducting a long term trial of nine of its T4 [a working title], which is described as a 4.25 tonne all-electric autonomous-ready truck.
“Electric trucks should be simpler than conventional powered vehicles,” said Key, making the point that there are examples of fully electric vehicles from more than 100 years ago in automotive museums, so the concept is far from new.
“Retrofitting conventional vehicles is where it gets expensive. If you build from the bottom up as we have done – the Lego block approach if you will – you end up with something simpler.
“We are also trying to do more in software rather than hardware, which is typically heavier,” he said.
“Ultimately, we approach our truck as a device. Think of our four-tonne truck as a big phone on wheels.”
Arrival plans to put its 4-tonne vehicle into full production at the end of the year and already has designs for a 7.5-tonner.
Key claimed that the company would be able to deliver it at broadly the same price of a conventional vehicle with similar payload.
We believe it’ll be priced at £35,000, which will include the battery. This is without factoring in any available government subsidy,” said Key.
The T4 is claimed to have a range approaching 200km and can take a full charge in an hour with 100% more payload and 50% more volume than a conventional equivelent.
However, Key said: “This is a very specific vehicles for inner city deliveries.”
Arrival has designed its vehicles with shared components. Key likened the approach to a plug and play PC, which is easily upgradable.
It is using the technology to develop other variants such as a small bus, as well as a taxi and an electric-assisted bike that could be used for delivering post or pizza.