British electric van maker Arrival prepares for unconventional US debut
British electric van maker Arrival is preparing for its US debut, choosing Charlotte, North Carolina, as its US headquarter.
The company’s new offices are set to be inaugurated next month, while production facilities – one for vans in Charlotte and one for buses in South Carolina – will open later this year.
The automotive manufacturer is planning to attract a hire around 1,000 people to initially produce 5,000 vans and 500 buses per year, aiming to scale up production to 10,000 and 1,000 respectively.
Arrival’s decision to set its operations away from more obvious choices such as Detroit is part of a strategy that aims to open a network of “microfactories”, producing vehicles with a lower initial investment.
According to Mike Ableson, head of Arrival’s automotive division, while the market is becoming saturated with luxury electric vehicles (EV), vans and buses can still offer commercial opportunities.
“On the retail side, obviously, there have been lots of announcements about lots of future electric vehicles,” he told the Times. “And you have people worrying about, will there be enough demand for all those vehicles? It’s, in my view, almost exactly reversed on the commercial side.
“When I joined Arrival about two and a half years ago nobody was too excited about electric last-mile delivery vans. Yet now they seem to be all the rage.”
Since its listing in New York last spring, the company – which was founded in 2015 in London by Russian billionaire Denis Sverdlov – suffered a few bumps on the road, the outlet reported. In recent months, Arrival’s shares slumped 49 per cent this year, closing on Friday at $3.98 while its value stationed at $2.5bn.