Arrival, UK's electronic vehicle maker, will start producing cars by 2023 with design help from ride-hailing service Uber. This is the latest step by the UK-headquartered startup's plans to take on the automotive industry.
Uber Teams Up with Arrival
The car will be for ride-hailing drives, and it will be Arrival's first electronic taxi. The vehicles will be added to buses that are due to be on UK highways this year, as well as urban delivery vans, according to Reuters.
Uber, the famous US ride-hailing company, would explore a strategic relationship in key markets, including the UK and the EU. However, the agreement is not exclusive yet.
Arrival's senior vice president for mobility, Tom Elvidge, said that the production could take place in the UK, but there is still no final decision regarding factory locations.
The design of the vehicle aims to be more comfortable for drivers who spend hours a day behind the wheel, and use hard-wearing, easy-to-clean materials, as per The Verge. Other features could include a front passenger seat that can fold away to fit more luggage and a panoramic glass roof.
Elvidge said that it would be fundamentally something that is built and designed from the ground up with ride-hailing in mind, instead of being aimed at consumers. He added that there is a lot that they think they can improve on and elevate the experience when they take a blank piece of paper.
However, ride-hailing drivers are classed as independent contractors, so that means anyone would be able to purchase the Arrival car.
Arrival would not prevent consumers from purchasing it.
The announcement comes a month after Arrival listed on New York's Nasdaq stock exchange through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company.
Arrival's Electronic Vehicle Move
Arrival's move into electric cars will pit it directly against the biggest carmakers like Toyota and Volkswagen, as well as electric taxi specialists like LEVC, another UK-based company that makes all-electric black cabs for London.
The car will be built using similar principles to Arrival's battery electric buses and vans, which will use robot-heavy micro factories close to key markets to try to undercut traditional carmakers who rely on highly efficient but expensive production lines.
Elvidge stated that Arrival aimed to produce a car at about the same upfront cost as equivalents using internal combustion engines.
The final price will depend on the design, but the cost savings on fueling and maintaining electric vehicles could mean a lower cost over a car's life.
The collaboration with Uber could allow the car to interact directly with the app, potentially allowing the ride-hailing company to automatically match passenger with cars that have sufficient battery range.
Uber, which has been embroiled in a legal battle in the UK over the employment status of the drivers, is keen to play up its environmental credentials.
In March, Uber introduced an option for customers in London, which is its largest UK market, to choose electric vehicles only, and it hopes to bar internal combustion engine cars in the city by 2025.
Uber also plans to produce no net carbon dioxide emissions around the world by 2040, according to TechCrunch.
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Written by Sophie Webster